Every so often, our school has representatives from a coalition of the Urbana Fire Department, the Urbana Police Deapartment, the American Red Cross, and the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District visit to talk to the students about different risks that students are exposed to during their day-to-day lives. Some of these include fire safety, gun safety, severe weather, and potentially hazardous liquids. Because of recent legislation in Illinois, our district has joined with the schools in Champaign to provide a body safety presentation, too. Members of the coalition visited each classroom yesterday and today to talk to the students about this very important safety topic.
They started by talking about “stranger danger” and the reminder that students shouldn’t engage in conversations with people they don’t know, especially when they are alone or with friends. Each student should have a list of safe adults that they can go to when they need help. They practiced saying “NO!” in a strong, loud, confident voice and were reminded that whenever they feel unsafe or uncomfortable they should say NO! and RUN AWAY to a safe place. The presenters shared strategies for getting away from a person who is trying to hurt them, including hitting them in a sensitive place.
There was a reminder that these strategies for staying safe are not meant to be used as games or jokes. They also shouldn’t be used when a student in mad at a teacher for telling them to stop doing something that is not safe, respectful, or responsible. Throughout the presentation, our school social worker was present to help monitor students and be aware of possible triggers.
The entire presentation was perfectly geared for my students and taught important skills and concepts without making anyone feel uncomfortable! I am very grateful to those in this student health and safety coalition for putting together these presentations and giving my students the tools and knowledge they need to keep themselves safe from danger.