Information for Parents
What parents and guardians should do to prepare for a school emergency
- Be sure your emergency contact information on file at school is up to date. Include home, work, and cellular telephone numbers for all parents/guardians. Be sure the name(s) of adults authorized to pick up your child are up to date. The school will not release a student to someone who's name is not on the list. Positive identification will be required.
- Inform your school's nurse if your child has any medical conditions or physical limitations that emergency responders would need to know. If your son or daughter requires medication during the school day or during an emergency, consult with your child's pediatrician to determine the number of doses and dispensing instructions that should be provided to the school nurse.
- Establish a family preparedness plan including a communications plan. This plan will enable you to communicate with family members during an emergency. Information on creating a plan can be found on the resources page.
Student/Family Reunification Procedures Following a School-Based Emergency
- If your student's school participates in Alert Now, during an emergency you will be contacted via Alert Now and provided instructions. If your student's school does not have Alert Now, visit the district website to obtain official information and instructions.
- If there is an emergency at one of the Arlington Public Schools, please do not call the school since administrators will be busy managing the incident.
- Students will be kept in school, at a neighboring school, or other shelter until the end of the school day if possible. Click here to see the list of school emergency shelters.
- Please do not go to the school unless instructed.
- If students are moved from the school to a shelter AND you are asked to pick up your child at the shelter, bring a government issued identification card (e.g., driver’s license, passport, etc.) and check in with school officials.
- Students will be released to parents or guardians who have presented acceptable identification and who are named on the student emergency information card.
- If an authorized adult (whose name is listed on the student emergency information card) is unable pickup a child, the child will remain at the shelter or reunification site.
Bullying and Harassment
What is bullying? Any written or verbal expression, or physical acts or gestures, directed at another person(s) to intimidate, frighten, ridicule, humiliate, or cause harm to the other person, where the conduct is not related to the person's membership in a protected class (e.g., race, sex). Bullying may include, but is not limited to, repeated taunting, threats of harm, verbal or physical intimidation, cyber-bullying through e-mails, instant messages, or websites, pushing, kicking, hitting, spitting, or taking or damaging another's personal property. Bullying behavior may also constitute a crime.
Be sure to check out the resources page for links to help on bullying and cyber bullying.
How can I tell if my child is being bullied?
If your child shows several of these warning signs, it's possible he or she is being bullied. You may want to talk with your child to find out what is troubling him or her, and schedule a conference to discuss your concerns with school staff.
- comes home from school with torn or dirty clothing, or damaged books
- has cuts, bruises or scratches
- has few, if any, friends to play with
- seems afraid to go to school, or complains of headaches or stomach pains
- doesn't sleep well or has bad dreams
- loses interest in schoolwork
Talking with Your Child About Bullying
- Talk often with your child and listen carefully. Ask about your child’s school day, activities and friends.
- Ask if your child feels safe and comfortable at school.
- Talk about what bullying means. Teach that bullying is unacceptable and can be dangerous.
- Encourage your child to tell you when bullying happens at school.
- Stop hurtful sibling teasing and bullying when it happens at home.
- Tell your child that bullying is disrespectful and can be dangerous.
- Hazing is a form of group bullying and can be against the law.
- Bullying of a sexual nature is sexual harassment and is against the law. Bullying on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, disability or sexual orientation is a form of hate behavior and is in some cases a hate crime.
Counseling & Mental Health
A traumatic event such as a family, school, or community emergency can be overwhelming for those who experience it. A traumatic event often leaves a person feeling vulnerable or helpless. Arlington Public Schools has experienced psychologists and mental health professionals who can provide assistance.
Check out the resources page for links to information on counseling and mental health services.
Preparedness Checklist for Parents
- Up to date emergency contact information on file with school
- Family preparedness plan.
- Talk with child about bullying and harassment.