K-12 schools and districts across the country all have the same initiative; school safety. They do everything they can to make sure students and faculty are safe, even if some of their school safety bans make headlines. With the growing number of violent incidents at schools across the country, many administrators are turning to school bans to ensure the well being of their students. It’s important that students and parents understand the common school safety bans and why it’s essential to abide by these rules.
3 Common School Safety Bans
There are school safety bans in place at many K-12 schools that effectively protect both students and staff from violence, as well as exposure to experiences detrimental to those struggling with mental health issues.
School Safety Ban 1: Weapons
Schools have the authority to ban and enforce a no weapons policy. In 1994 the Gun Free Schools Act made bringing a gun to school a federal crime, but this was struck down by the Supreme Court as it represented an overreach by the federal government. According to FindLaw, “Congress claimed that removing weapons from schools affected interstate commerce and therefore fell within federal jurisdiction, but the Court decided that guns and schools were not actually in the stream of interstate commerce.” This wasn’t the end, though. The Gun Free Schools Act was amended and made a part of No Child Left Behind, which required schools to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy when it came to weapons in schools. FindLaw tells us that, “any school who receives funding from Title IV of No Child Left Behind must expel any student that brings a weapon to campus. Some states attach additional penalties to bringing a weapon to school, for example, Florida and Kansas will revoke a student's driver’s license if they are found with a weapon on school grounds.”
School Safety Ban 2: Drugs & Alcohol
K-12 schools continually strive to keep students free of alcohol and other drugs by enforcing school bans on these substances. EduRiskSolutions says, “The most effective policies pertaining to the use, possession, and distribution of these substances are both comprehensive and compassionate. They emphasize prevention and nondisciplinary intervention, as well as fair and consistent discipline, to hold students accountable for their behavior.” Being an ally to your students by having a compassionate approach could help administrators identify who may be using drugs or alcohol on school premises. At Rave we encourage early intervention and prevention for schools using anonymous tip technology, which allows students to anonymously submit a text message to school administrators.
School Safety Ban 3: Bullying & Cyberbullying
Some K-12 schools have adopted zero tolerance policies when it comes to bullying and cyberbullying due to the highly publicized violent incidents in schools such as physical student-on-student attacks and school shootings.. Although implementing zero tolerance policies has the hope to protect students and staff, it is not clear that they are succeeding in improving school safety. According to NEA, “some evidence based on non experimental studies suggests that these policies actually may have an adverse effect on student academic and behavioral outcomes.” With this being said, it’s still imperative that schools have clear disciplinary actions when bullying and cyberbullying incidents are reported. Some programs for bullying prevention include: targeted behavioral support for students who are at-risk for violent behavior, character education programs, or positive behavioral interventions that are instituted school wide.
Now, here are some funny school safety bans that are on the lighter side.
Funny School Safety Bans
- High Fives, Tag, Hand-Holding, and Hugs
It’s true. Hugs are considered an inappropriate form of touching in some K-12 schools in the U.S. and a bill was passed in Tennessee claiming hand-holding is the gateway to sexual activity. Some parents showed concern, “It is going to prevent children developing social skills during their most formative years,” said one parent. There were also school bans on high fives and tag as they’re considered dangerous.
- Plastic Water Bottles
Some may remember the water bottle flipping craze that swept the nation in 2016. As this caused a lot of distraction for students, many schools banned flipping water bottles, and two schools even banned plastic water bottles all together!
- Yoga Pants
Young school aged girls are opting to wear yoga pants as a new comfortable alternative to jeans or sweatpants, which is causing wide-spread school bans as they are considered to be too revealing and a distraction. TeachHub tells us, “a school in Rockport, MA, sent home 20 female students when they showed up in the banned apparel.”
- The Dictionary
Believe it or not… the dictionary was a real school ban at a school in California. A parent came forward to complain that the dictionary contains references to inappropriate behaviors, and the school promptly banned the book. This ban did not last very long. According to Business Insider, “days later, teachers and administrators voted to bring the dictionaries back into the classrooms. As a compromise, they sent students home with permission slips so objecting parents could opt for their students to use to a different dictionary.”
- Bake Sales
What may seem like an innocent way for students and schools to raise money was made a school ban by the New York City Department of Education back in 2009. Due to the unhealthy nature of the foods being sold, other states may follow suit to better conform to federal nutrition guidelines.
- Red Ink
Red ink was a school ban that applies to the teachers not the students, but was one of the more shocking school bans which is why we’ve included it on our list. The red markings on student assignments were considered to be de-motivating and according to Business Insider, “the sight of red ink became so jarring that several schools in England banned teachers from using it in the 2000s. Many of them hoped that by forcing teachers to make their corrections in other colors, it would soften the stigma of making a mistake.”
Your K-12 school may not include these funny school bans in your school safety policy, but the common school bans such as weapons, violence, drugs, and alcohol are all typical for an effective school safety program. An emergency can happen without warning, which is why K-12 schools must be prepared to communicate and respond to dangerous incidents efficiently.
Our K-12 solutions are just one platform for school safety communications and response. Learn more today!
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