The 2016 school year has begun and America must focus on security, character education, and academic achievements in our educational communities.
The U.S. Department of Education estimates 50.1 million students will attend public elementary and secondary schools.
About 3.1 million full-time teachers will be employed in nearly 98,500 schools in our public school system.
There will be an additional 20.2 million students in the nation’s colleges and universities and an additional 4.9 million attending private schools.
The American educational system is critical to the future of the nation, as memorialized in my published works and presentations nationwide over the last 20 years.
Our educators, students, families, and community leaders must be dedicated to making each district, campus, classroom, and student a priority for security, character development, and academic initiatives.
Our educational system is the heart and soul of the nation’s future and every effort must be made to insure success.
School Security: An Indisputable Priority
The tragic headlines on school violence during the last 20 years must motivate unwavering dedication to enhance security in every educational community.
A critical element of school security is security vulnerability assessments, training initiatives, and protocols at all schools.
Training for all personnel, students, and families must include warning signs. This is mandatory since we have continually witnessed school and campus tragedies where warning signs were recognized but ignored.
One essential document for training is “Early Warning, Timely Response: A Guide to Safe Schools” by the U. S. Department of Education.
This classic, masterfully developed document, includes intervention for student warning signs including the following:
• Social withdrawal
• Excessive feelings of isolation and being alone
• Being a victim of violence
• Feelings of being picked on and persecuted
• Low school interest/poor academic performance
• Uncontrolled anger
• Patterns of impulsive and chronic hitting, intimidating, and bullying
• Expression of violence in writings
• History of discipline problems
• Past history of violent aggressive behavior
• Drug and alcohol use
• Affiliation with gangs
• Intolerance for differences and prejudicial attitudes
• Inappropriate access to, possession of, and use of firearms
• Serious threats of violence
Other important elements for school security include board certified security directors, bullying prevention programs, crisis management teams, and training that encompasses the document titled “Practical Information on Crisis Planning: A Guide for Schools and Communities.”
This timeless document, from the U.S. Department of Education, provides information on preparing for a crisis, and details the principles of crisis management: mitigation and prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery.
Developing students with hearts of character built on the pillars of honesty, respect, civility, and patriotism must be paramount throughout America’s educational communities.
We are continually witnessing scandals and violations of character throughout every element of American society.
These include corruption at the highest levels of government, corporate greed, faith-based scandals, and character deficiencies within professional sports and Olympic athletes.
America’s youth deserve inspiration from our educators as they must carry the torch of character and cultivate a renaissance of ethical behavior.
A reality of our educational system is that millions of students spend exorbitant time hearing lectures, writing papers, memorizing facts, and pushing themselves with extracurricular activities. This would be a tragic waste of time if instilling character is not the heartbeat of the educational community.
Our educators, through the power of good example, kindness, concern, respect, affirmation, and encouragement, must inspire character into the heart of America through our schools.
Character and Academics: Inseparable Principles
Although character is essential to the welfare of our educational communities, and the future of the nation, academic achievement is also a priority.
When an educator inspires character, the foundation is set for academic excellence since students are inspired to be responsible, loyal, and industrious.
As detailed in my article titled “America’s 21st Century Teacher: Security, Character, Pedagogy” for the Aug. 28, 2015 edition of Epoch Times, I argued that the preventive educational system is transformational.
The preventive system, as opposed to a rigid, negative, and dictatorial repressive system of education, has the capability to transform a student, school, or campus; and in time, the very heart of America.
The advantages of this educational pedagogy is that character is inspired, warning signs receive measured intervention, and academic achievement is encouraged.
As schools open throughout America for another school year, we must be fully dedicated to security principles, character education, and academic excellence.
When our educators are vigilant with security concerns, inspire character through personal example, and encourage academic excellence, we will be on the path to reawakening the nation.
Vincent J. Bove, CPP, is a national speaker and author on issues critical to America. Bove is a recipient of the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for combating crime and violence and is a former confidant of the New York Yankees. His newest book is “Listen To Their Cries.” For more information, see www.vincentbove.com
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Epoch Times.