The eighth core belief of the RISD school board states that RISD will provide a safe and secure environment that is conducive to learning. In today’s world this core belief addresses one of the most important concerns of the public. This belief involves student and staff safety as well as creating an educational environment where students want to attend because they feel like they are a part of the school.
School safety is at the top of everyone’s list to determine “How well a school is doing.” There are many different definitions and interpretations of a safe school. The state and federal governments review our student data annually looking for the number of felony drug arrests that occurred at school, the number of incidents with a weapon (identified by the state penal code), the number of students that are expelled, the number of students that attend a Disciplinary Alternative Education Program, the number of acts of vandalism, the number of assaults against a teacher/staff/students to determine if our schools are safe.
Generally, the public and most educators have a different viewpoint to determine if schools are safe. As parents we want to be reassured that when our children go to school they are safe from other students and adults that intend to harm them physically and/or emotionally. There are different approaches to keeping our schools safe and Rockdale ISD has chosen to use a variety of programs and efforts to help our students. This year the Intermediate School has added a Tiger Buddies program to their campus.
Tiger Buddies is an adult mentoring program where school adults are paired with students needing assistance. The Junior High utilizes adult mentoring during their Tiger Time, and the Elementary campus has student mentors working with students through Tiger Buddies during football, PALS and the Ready, Set, Teach program (high school students). Of course our counselors and nurses continue to support student emotional needs and physical ailments throughout the year.
Other opportunities that our district is supporting and/or providing that promotes a safe and secure school environment are suicide prevention, anti-bullying policies and professional development, sexual harassment professional development, a Superintendent’s Student Advisory committee that works with me every six weeks, a high school student advisory committee that works with principal Joey Geletka, Character Education themes and classes, scheduled emergency drills and a school resource officer to assist district students with personal conflicts.
RISD places safety of our students and our staff at the forefront of our efforts. We understand that a public education is more than preparing students for a state assessment. Also, we want our students to “want to be here” and feel welcome in our facilities and to participate in our activities.
RISD is providing our students a safe and secure environment (we did not have any incidents last year involving weapons or felony drug crimes) and we welcome suggestions and assistance from those of you that would like to volunteer in our schools.