The synergy of mental, physical and emotional safety


Lugina Elshikh

Photo via Journalistikk byggjer på fakta – Medie- og informasjonskunnskap 1 – NDLA under the Creative Commons License

Lugina Elshikh, Author

Did you ever wonder what a middle schooler has to deal with when they enter the building?  A poll taken of 463 WMS students said that 59.2% of students feel safe at school, while only 4% said they do not. 35% said they ‘sometimes’ feel safe.  The mind of a middle schooler can be a stressful place. Students don’t just have to worry about homework, they really have to worry about situations or issues that are going on in the news and maybe what is going on in their family. Mental and physical safety truly is important to students in their mind and more. 

Physical Safety

With an increase in safety threats over the last few years, schools have implemented strategies to improve student safety. Ensuring that there are protocols with safety, WMS vice principal, Mr. O’Halloran said, “We have emergency plans in place, also state law requires us to do two drills a month to insure our preparedness.”

Mr. O’Halloran also commented on the school’s initiative to have police officers check doors, “We have an off duty police officer who is there every day to secure our external doors and to ensure our safety.” 

While there are some initiatives in place, teachers really do focus also on less traumatic safety issues. For example Mrs. Steinberg said, “There’s a lot of safety issues with kids running in the hallway.” If people could take students and teachers’ opinions for safety seriously it may prevent safety issues happening in the future. 

Despite WMS having many cameras in hallways, 6th grade student Isaiah Perdone said, “They can improve by adding more cameras.” Perdone also said, “I feel that the school is well protected and we have a lot of drills which maintain the school safety.”

Emotional Safety

While physical safety is of paramount importance to school districts, emotional safety is often forgotten. Furthermore, emotional safety is very influential and needs to be taken seriously, because there’s times where students have taken their own lives because of it. Even though there is physical evidence of emotional duress, many students still do not take it seriously.

Moreover, students have to deal with emotional distress and depression, and for some students taking out their anger and depression is when they sometimes take things too seriously and fight. This makes students and even faculty members scared about how someday that can be you.  For example, Sophia Castellan said, “I feel that school is not safe because of the school fights.”  Disagreements in schools across the board have seen an increase since the pandemic because of mental health issues.  Also, Castellan said, “I feel that there is not enough security.” 

Equally important, is that school can be comfortable without depression or emotional distress, which does show that there’s good in people and there can be fun in schools. Mohamed Ammaan, 6th grader said, “I feel comfortable talking to any teachers because the teachers make you feel comfortable and safe.” In addition Giselle Calle said, “ I feel that school is safe because there are a lot of people around the school.” 

Apart from this, it shows that school is great in the minds of students who have fun and feel comfortable. Amaann said, “I feel comfortable in the cafeteria because the teachers are minding their own business and I am minding my own business.” Just being in the cafeteria can make students feel comfortable. But for some people, for example, Castellan said, “I get claustrophobic sometimes in the cafeteria.”

Mental, physical, emotional, safety is very important to teachers and students who have to deal with depression or some source of sadness every day of their school life. It does show that the situation has to be focused on and brought into consideration. The improvement that schools can help with emotional and physical safety is, if teachers can truly talk to the students with their heart and see what they’re going through. For physical safety schools can provide more security and show that school is a safe space. 

School safety is important to pay attention to because students’ personalities can be ruined in two seconds if there is a situation, you have to recognize students because they are the heart of the school. There would be no schools without students.