Educators continue to be proactive when it comes to keeping children safe

School counselors told WAAY 31 there's more to educating than just teaching. Building relationships in the classroom are important.

Posted: Mar. 6, 2018 5:01 PM
Updated: Mar. 6, 2018 5:43 PM

School safety leaders and educators are continuing to be proactive when it comes to student safety.

Tuesday, over 500 educators, parents and law enforcement officers from the area came together for the Alabama Child Safety Conference in Decatur.

Investigators, social workers and educators told WAAY 31, when a school shooting event takes place it can traumatize a child. It's important they get help as soon as possible.

"All we can do is take every proactive measure possible to make our school a safe place for students to come and for us to work," said Falkville High School Counselor Kenny Lopez.

Lopez said, there's more to being an educator than just teaching.

"We would be able to know our kids well enough to know when something may be going on. We might not know everything about them, but we can know as much as possible and having a better relationship with them than I teach you, but I know what's going on in your life," Lopez said.

This allows teachers and counselors to reach out to parents if they think something might be wrong with their child.

Kevin McNeil spoke to educators at The Alabama Child Safety Conference on what signs to look for if a child needs help and someone to talk to.

"There's actual signs that parents can look for like behavior changes, difficulty in learning, outbursts in school and sometimes violence. A lot of it leads to violence," said Kevin McNeil who works with children who are traumatized.

McNeil said sometimes when students make decisions to act violent, they've probable kept their personal issues a secret, instead of seeking help.

"We have to talk about it. If kids don't talk about their trauma, they normally act it out. It's communicated in destructive ways, if it's not talked about in constructive ways," McNeil said.

When asked if teachers should be armed at school for protection, Lopez had this to say.

"My opinion is that we let the school resource officer who does a great job, at my school, to build relationships and law enforcement decide on that and we let them do their job," Lopez said.

McNeil said it's important for the students who have witnessed violence at school get help because if they keep that trauma inside, it's only going to make things worse. 

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