My Stay Safe Journey
As an educator, I am committed to doing anything I can to support our students, and it has been difficult for me to process the horrible acts of violence that continue to occur in our schools across the nation. The Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde in May of last year, and subsequent school shootings involving grade school children, have been especially hard.
Unfortunately, the number of active shooter incidents in and around our schools continue to rise, and policies and approaches needed to solve this issue are complicated and dynamic. My father and I saw a need to create a resource to teach grade school children how to respond to emergency situations of this nature. The principles of Run, Hide, Fight are recommended by the F.B.I and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and are widely recommended to all. As a result, the Stay Safe booklet was based on these same concepts and was created in our home.
We sought to tailor a booklet for children that addressed this sensitive topic in an age-appropriate and gentle manner. As part of the Stay Safe program, we provide a lesson plan to schools, detailing how to open this conversation with young students in an organic way. The lesson plan then guides the instructor through the learning session and often recommends activities for students to participate in, such as physically walking children to emergency exits nearest their individual classroom. With the help of my mother (a native Spanish speaker) and a licensed Spanish language interpreter, we have since created and will also be distributing a Spanish version of the Stay Safe booklet to maximize our efforts. We make these books available to interested schools in all states.
Promoting a safe learning environment is a collaborative effort involving parents, educators, and the wider community. Our only intent is to equip young children with the knowledge they may need should there be a school intrusion and our greatest hope is that this booklet will be considered obsolete in the future. However, until that day, critical incident education and preparedness should be required for children of all ages and must be a priority for educators and parents alike.
Please join us in our efforts.