How Springfield schools are teaching students about safety in new ways

Sometimes it’s the students who first notice something isn’t right or is dangerous at their school, and the Springfield City School District hopes those students will alert an adult immediately.

To help all Springfield city students learn how important it is to speak up when something is wrong, the district launched its safety initiative last week “See Something, Say Something.”

The initiative is important because student safety is a top priority at Springfield City Schools, Superintendent Bob Hill said.

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“It’s another added level of safety we have here in the schools. We’ve created our own curriculum and talking points by grade that we will ask our teachers to incorporate into their lessons to help our students better understand how important it is to be safe and create a culture of safety,” Hill said. “Where if you do see something that isn’t right, something that doesn’t fit, you say something to an adult.”

The lessons are prepared on a grade level basis with specific lessons for each grade level.

“You are advancing at each grade brand a little more information to help them pick out the different situation that they might be in during that grade band,” Hill said.

Last week, students at Kenwood Elementary School were taught never to pet a dog they don’t know, to never pick up a pill or medication that they might find and to always alert an adult if they encounter something that makes them feel unsafe.

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“It’s not just about being safe in school, it’s about being safe in the community and being safe in your home,” Hill said. “Safety is everyone’s responsibility. From parents to community members to teachers to principals, to anyone that is part of the school system or outside the school system. If it’s not right, it doesn’t look right or sound right it probably isn’t right and we need to let someone know.”

Hill said it’s unfortunate that culture frowns upon reporting dangerous things to authorities. He said, however, the initiative aims to get students to say something before something bad happens.

“This is not telling on someone or snitching on someone, this is simply saying this isn’t safe,” he said. “If I see something that isn’t safe or in the best interest of the community, I’m going to say something. That’s how this community can become stronger and really advance our community.”

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