As we begin to look at the 6 main factors that prospective parents and current parents care about the most in their child’s school, I do want to lay out a disclaimer. I know we are not perfect! As a Christian individual and leader of a ministry, I am certain there is room for growth in many areas. I end almost every email with the sentence, “If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please communicate them to us.” I honestly mean that statement. It does not mean we will always see eye to eye, but I do want to challenge myself and the school towards always improving.
Safety – what does it mean? The children’s safety is a number one concern. How is that defined? In our news today, we hear that we want workplaces to be safe, colleges to be safe and my child’s school to be safe. In fact, we need to create a “safe place” in these “safe places” even, so that my child will be safe. I must admit, I get confused. When confused about the meaning of a word, go to Webster’s dictionary: “a place (as on a college campus) intended to be free of bias, conflict, criticism, or potentially threatening actions, ideas, or conversations.” I’m pretty certain that a place like this does not exist. So is FCS safe?
Let’s first set our topic to include physical, emotional/social, academic, and spiritual safety. I will not discuss each one equally in this blog, but I will attempt to give an overview of FCS.
Physical safety is a top priority. Over the course of the last several years, we have incorporated automatic door locks, cameras, outside speakers for the intercom, visitor check-ins, volunteer guidelines, emergency actions plans, safer playground and athletic equipment, and had an independent safety review. Every single one of these projects have been to make the physical safety of our students a main priority. I thank the Lord for the resources that have been provided to complete each task. But even more importantly, I thank the Lord for His daily protection. While I believe every item we listed is important to protect our students’ physical safety, my faith rests in the Lord’s oversight more than in physical items.
Emotional/Social safety is a popular topic right now. One author I read believes we are babying this generation of students. While there maybe some truth to that, this area is still important. Students will go through several stages of development while they are in school. Each child may mature at a different rate than other children (don’t get me started on the different maturity level and timing of adolescent girls and boys!!). It is important that we provide a place for children to be able to grow. It is important that Christian teachers are aware of when students are being left out or made fun of. It is important to recognize social rejection and to help intervene when necessary. It is important to teach children love, patience, kindness, edification, peace and self control. One of my favorite books is titled Relationships: A Mess Worth Making. God made us for relationships and we as Christians need to continually work on them.
Academic safety should be considered also. Every student is taught from a Biblical worldview. You can count on your child to be taught that the Bible is the ONLY source of truth and authority. While we want our students to be able to apply knowledge to the society around them, we do not want them to think that society can change the truth of God’s Word. Our students are safe to question, discuss, explore how to apply, critically think and debate very hard questions and topics all through a Biblical lens. Of course, all of this is overseen by Christian teachers who we will discuss in another blog.
Spiritual safety is often left off this list and it probably is the most important. The spiritual safety is why I choose a Christian school. When my kids were small and they wanted to know what salvation was, I wanted to know a Christian teacher could talk to them. When my kids are older and have questions about a specific temptation or sin, baptism, progressive sanctification, dating, marriage, being a good teammate, what to do in life, where to go to college, how does the Holy Spirit work, is the Bible true, does God care during hard times, I’m struggling with being depressed what should I do, with being accepted, with feeling loved, a relationship with a friend or a family member, etc, etc, etc….. I want to know that there are Christians around them to help. Yes, I am the parent and I want to answer all of this for my child, but I am thrilled that I have help. We need to be a place where a student can ask very hard questions, where a student can have struggles and where the student can feel safe discussing it with a teacher or spiritual friend. The whole time though being turned to a loving, all-knowing, all-powerful God who desires to have a relationship with them.
Based on the survey results, how are we doing? These specific areas were noted in our top ten strengths. I believe each one of them speaks directly to one of the safety topics that have been presented.
- Area #1: Individual attention provided for students
- Area #4: Christian character development
- Area #6: Key life skills are taught
- Area #7: Students feel accepted by their peers
- Area #8: Communication with constituents
- Area #9: High behavioral standards for students
- Area #10: Safe learning environment
I want to again thank you for supporting Friendship Christian School in achieving our core values of Knowledge, Faith and Character to produce the next generation of well-rounded servant leaders.
Mr. Nelson, Head of School
Click below for other posts in this series.
Next topic in series: Academic Excellence