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Special School District of St. Louis County
 
Character and Safety go Hand-in-Hand
America’s Safe Schools Week is Oct. 17-21

As you approach the front entrance of Northview High School, it's hard to miss the banner that reads "Promising Practices in Character Education 2010 National Award Winner."

"Character education is the foundation of everything we do here," said Northview Principal Stephanie Valleroy.

Northview students built upon that foundation last month when they, along with students from neighboring Ackerman School, took an anti-bullying pledge while standing together to form a giant peace symbol on the lawn outside of the two schools.

Since implementing character education, Northview has seen a reduction in school discipline issues — especially with office referrals and suspensions.

"Character education provides multiple opportunities for students to reflect on what is the right choice or action," Valleroy said. "As a result, students stop and think about how their actions affect others, which results in a safer environment."

And it is this component of character education that is a natural fit with Safe Schools Week.

Safe Schools Week, which this year is Oct. 17-21, offers schools the opportunity to stress the importance of school safety by highlighting ways to make sure students have the safest environment possible. Each SSD school has an individual safety plan that includes specific procedures regarding visitors, student pick-up, emergency drills and other precautions.

SSD Security Coordinator Bill Miller, who is also a sergeant with the Olivette Police Department, said it's important for students to know they can always go to a staff member or police officer with safety concerns.

"If they have any problems, they should feel comfortable coming to us," he said. "If there's an officer assigned to a school, they can approach him or her. Officers should be seen as a safe person to talk to."

Miller also urges students and adults alike not to hesitate to call 911 if they see a crime or emergency happening.
Parents also play a vital role in educating their children about safety:
  • Discussing solutions to potential problems ahead of time
  • Talking about school policies
  • Reviewing safety procedures for home and school
  • Encouraging children to tell school authorities about dangerous activities they may see
  • Familiarizing yourself with your child's friends
  • Getting to know/talk with fellow parents
  • Talking with your child about who they spend time with at school
  • Involving your child in setting rules for appropriate behavior
  • Being involved in your child's school life
But the most important thing parents can do is lead by example. In fact, studies show that actions speak louder than words when it comes to children learning habits from parents.
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12110 Clayton Rd, Town & Country, MO 63131  /  314.989.8100  /  314.989.8552 – 711 (Missouri Relay)

Special School District of St. Louis County (SSD) is a leader in providing special education services to students with disabilities and also provides a wide range of career and technical education programs.
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