Safety First

A recent experience reminded me how easily it is for kids to slip away no matter how hard you try to keep track of them. Things happen!  It made.me think about another experience I had several years ago when my nine year old daughter got lost at the lake after some miscommunication.  I thought she was with another adult and vice versa.  It was the scariest experience of my life!  I am not sure how long it was that we were frantically looking for her but it felt like a decade.  It was probably about fifteen minutes.  Thankfully, we found her walking up the road the way we had come.  I had never been more relieved in my whole life!  
As a teacher thinking about losing a student is also a chilling thought! Parents entrust their students to us and it is our job to make sure they are safe. Working in special education it is a lot more magnified to make sure students are safe.  In special education we work with some students that are not aware of common dangers, or have behaviors that are unsafe or provocative.  I remember subbing in an elementary autism program years ago.  There was a student that was a runner.  His desk was placed right next to an outside door.  I thought this was a really bad idea but I was only a sub so what did I know? Baloney!  We had no sooner had our kids seated from recess when he gave me a big smile and was out the door and through the gate to the parking lot.  I was close behind him and grabbed him right before he darted in front of a school bus.  Since then I have had students with varying degrees of unsafe behaviors.  Thankfully, I am the teacher now and can put interventions in place, like not putting a runner next to the door. However much we prepare, as educators and parents we need to always be prepared for the worst case scenario.  Sometimes things happen. Something could set off a student and he or she could slip away in a blink of an eye.
Much of the curriculum for my students is community based.  That means there are even more situations that could be potentially unsafe. First and foremost I use common sense. If I know it is not safe to bring a student out into thr community I won’t do it. This doesn’t even need to be said. I practice with the student in a safe environment that I have control over before ever leaving campus.
My sister gave me a great idea that she does with her students. She will have them line up and snap a quick picture before going on a CBI. This is a great idea just in case something does happen she has a current picture that shows what they are wearing that day. It is easy enough to text to authorities or other staff.
I was also thinking it would be a good idea to do this the first day of school or every day the first few weeks of school, especially for students who are nonverbal. Students don’t usually have their school ID picture for several weeks. The picture the school may have on file may be dated and we all know kids change a lot in a year. This would also be a good idea for parents or caretakers to do on crowded outings. Another thing I do is store guardian contact information in my phone along with any pertinent information I may need to share.
These are just a few things I think are helpful. What are some safety related precautions you take for your students or kids? I love hearing tried and true tips and tricks!

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