School is back – and the hazards remain – How to protect your child from the dangers that lurk in schools

We are always concerned when we leave our children in the care and custody of bus drivers, teachers, lunch attendants, principals, etc.  Life has its uncertainties (but we cannot be consumed with the unknown and potential dangers of schooling our children; we would live in a state of constant anxiety if we did so).

However, there are certain steps we can take to reduce our risks of accidents, etc.

  1. “Bullying” scenario:  If your child has been verbally abused or threatened by another student (either in person or via social media, etc), a parent must IMMEDIATELY contact the school administration via email and/or written letter.  The communication should contain all of the facts surrounding the “bullying,” including who is harassing your child, when the harassment took place, the nature of the harassment, and the length of time that it has been occurring.  Additionally, you should suggest a solution, e.g., changing classrooms, placing the offending student and their parents on notice, etc.  If your child has been physically abused in any way, you need to contact the Police Department and make a criminal complaint.  You should ask for an Order of Protection.  Lastly, you should seek advice of counsel (attorney) and proceed to use all legal means necessary to stop further assaults.
  2. Be sure to provide the proper footwear for his or her physical education program.  Slips and falls, trip and falls can occur if your child is wearing improper or poorly fitting footwear that is unsuitable for gym class.
  3. If your child takes lunch food, be sure to pack it in a cool bag that will prevent the food from being contaminated.  Bacteria can easily form in a short period of time and cause intestinal problems.  Protect your child by providing a lunch food that is not prone to spoiling.
  4.  Unfortunately, when a child is in the care and custody of a teacher, instructor, etc. (or, as they say in law a person “in loco parentis” – a person acting in the capacity of a parent), a child may be subjected to sexual abuse.  Although a rare situation, a parent should have an open and frank discussion with their child regarding this subject (especially younger children who are naive and not informed of the subject).  Always advise your child to report any touching or contact between them and any adult.

If your child has suffered an injury in a school accident, please feel free to contact Charles C. DeStefano at 718-390-0580.


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