School Crime Down

by Jessica Cervantez

How safe is your child in school? Throughout the nation, reports show that school violent crime is on the decline, and it is down locally, too.

Keeping students safe is a top priority at Lufkin Middle School. The increased focus on crime prevention seems to be working. School crime is on the decline.

Lufkin Middle School Principal Vicki Evans said, "I think it's because of awareness. We know that our schools are as violent as our society is and it's something we need to talk to our students about."

Frequent communication helps make the rules clear. The lessons of disobeying are stressed in the classroom.

Evans said, "We have a high expectation of student behavior and that's just a culture that we create [by] saying, 'We don't hurt anyone physically or emotionally'. You have to have a system in place where students feel comfortable reporting that type of abuse."

LMS has a security system, along with an officer who visits the campus every day. Visitors also have to sign in at the front office. But protecting students goes far beyond these safety measures.

Evans said, "It's in the culture you create at your school. One thing that is so important is the high visibility of adults. All of us seem to do the right thing when someone in authority is watching over us, so it's important to have adults placed in areas where there are a lot of students."

Uniforms also help adults know who is and who isn't supposed to be on campus. Even with all these rules, administrators know that anything could still happen at any time.

"I don't think there's any place that's 100% safe. School, church, the mall -- I think we always have to be aware of our surroundings and what's going on and help each other. It's really a team effort," Evans said.