Leadership

Groups Focus on Health and Safety as Students Go Back to School

By / Sep 6, 2013 (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

As students throughout the country dive back into the books, several school-related associations are hard at work promoting health and safety initiatives.

If you’ve been listening closely this week, you may have heard the crisp crackling of fresh notebooks being opened and the humming of electric pencil sharpeners as the nation’s youth headed back to school.

And as students once again congregate in school buildings across the country, teachers, parents, and administrators turn their focus to perennial health and safety issues. Associations that represent various sectors of the education system are using the launch of the new school year as a platform for pushing health and safety initiatives. A few examples:

Flu Fight

Whether it’s little Johnny’s best friend from preschool or your daughter coming home for fall break from college, someone will inevitably bring the flu into your house.

The National Association of School Nurses hopes to prevent that with its recently revised “Fighting the Flu Happens at School!” seasonal flu-vaccine campaign, which now includes a month-by-month educational tool. Each month features a vaccine focus, tips for avoiding the flu, and sample resources for in schools and at home.

For college campuses, where lack of sleep and run-down immune systems mean flu outbreaks strike quickly and often, the American College Health Association provides campus health-services offices with pandemic planning and emergency response guidelines.

After Newtown

School safety remains a hot-button issue after the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, last December and other gun-related incidents, including one at an elementary school in Georgia just last month.

A one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t exist for school safety, says Augustine Pescatore, president of the National Association of School Safety and Law Enforcement Officials. “They just can’t throw in some type of security officer or even a police officer … Policing in schools is much different than policing on the streets,” Pescatore told Officer.com earlier this year.

NASSLEO will host the first annual School Safety Leadership Symposium in November. The event will “showcase the best training methods and best practices in school safety and security,” according to the organization’s website.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals is also tackling school safety, but in a different way. While NASSP provides links to resources for emergency preparedness, its focus is on promoting a positive environment.

“At a time when resources are tight, we need to be focusing on those strategies that will create a school climate where students want come ready to learn,” NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti said in a statement.

Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. More »

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