Keeping Children Safe

Hawthorn parents are invited to attend a school safety class to learn what they can do to help keep their children safe in and out of school.

With smartphones as common as bubble gum, children at Hawthorn School District 73, similar to students across the nation, are exposed to violence more than any generation before them. To weed out real threats from ignorant behavior, Hawthorn is offering parents an opportunity to learn how they can be proactive at home, at school and in their work environment.

The meeting is set for 7 p.m. Monday, March 16 at Hawthorn Middle School South.

While District 73 schools have never been the target of serious violence, neither was Sandy Hook Elementary School before its shooting spree two years ago. District 73 has extensive safety precautions in place. But so did Sandy Hook at the time of the shooting.

“Hawthorn teachers and administrative staff are well trained on what to watch for and what to do to prevent and/or minimize violence in the schools,” said School Resource Officer Andy Jones.

The key, Officer Jones said, is for everyone to contribute to the puzzle so that the police department has a complete picture of what is transpiring in any potential threat situation. For instance, a teacher may see a picture of a gun on a student’s computer. A parent may overhear a neighbor child threatening to kill another child. A classmate may receive a Snapchat from a fellow student threatening to do harm to another child.

“Middle schoolers are trying to find their place in the circle of life – how and where they belong,” Officer Jones said. “With social media, kids are growing up too fast. Some children lead a secret life on the Internet. This could lead to harm of others.”

Officer Jones will train parents on how they can play a role in helping to keep their children safe and what they can do with the information they gather around them.

“Parents should never feel that they are overreacting. The police department uses the information to put the puzzle together to see if there is a serious threat that officials need to deal with,” Officer Jones said.

Officer Jones recommends parents contact him if they have concerns. He can be reached at either of the Hawthorn middle schools. His email is jonesan@hawthorn73.org.

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