Families, communities, and nations are stronger when the rising generation is well educated, and good schools are important to good education. Parents of my day looked for schools with good teachers, strong academics, and their choice of extracurricular activities.
Today’s parents must add safety to their list. They want to know that their children will be safe at school. Jude Schwalbach, research assistant in education policy at The Heritage Foundation had this to say about school safety:
Safety is a growing concern for parents. A 2017 Gallup survey found that 3 in 10 parents are concerned for their children’s safety at school. And it’s no wonder, given what kids are experiencing.
In the District of Columbia, more than 30% of middle school students reported being bullied at school, nearly 10% of high school students say they were threatened or injured with a weapon on school property, and more than 15% experienced physical fights on school property.
Another 10% said they missed school because they felt unsafe at school or during their commute.
How are children or teens supposed to concentrate on education when they are concerned about their safety? Parents are concerned, and policymakers have taken notice of their concern. According to Schwalbach, there are several possibilities being discussed. Some of the proposals are:
1. Child safety accounts for “children who are the victims of bullying, sexual harassment, or violence to pay for tuition, tutoring, books, transportation, and therapy” enable them to move to another school.
2. School choice options that provide “vouchers to children from low-income families to attend a private school of choice.”
3. “Charter schools are another solution for parents looking for safe schools.”
With so many parents concerned about the safety of their children at school, it might be well to pay attention to this quote in Schwalbach’s article: “Parents generally have both greater interest in their children’s schooling and more intimate knowledge of their capacities and needs than anyone else” (Milton Friedman in “Free to Choose”).
If policymakers trust parents to do what is best for their children, they will develop policies that will allow parents to make the best choices for educating their children. When children and teens are safe at school and become well educated, families, communities, and nations are stronger.