Safety first, part A; things I never thought of


Principals’ Short Course was very useful, for a number of reasons. Excellent speakers, wonderful breakouts, challenging activities and an environment to pique your attention for a wide array of other topics. If you’ve never been, I’d really encourage you to go.

But as usual, the most enlightening times were those in which we talked about our experiences (nb Daniel Pink on the major theme of “Story”) and examined particular responses to case studies. My big learning was around the topic of safety, when viewed through a new lens.

One scenario we discussed really caused me to take a double take and scratch my head, wondering how I’d never thought of an issue that way before. It had to do with drugs in the school. I was challenged by my colleague to examine why drugs might be considered a safety issue. I just had never thought of it that way, so it was a challenge. I’d taken the “regular road” I guess; it’s a legal issue, against the law and the code of conduct, so your actions are grounded in law.

But as a safety issue, the topic of drugs looks different. There’s a new imperative when you consider how the dissemination of drugs around the school can cause the safety of large numbers of people to be compromised. Their health, well being, judgement, etc are all potentially at risk if these things get around. Then there’s the whole issue of the school being a safe place, which is another set of dots to connect. Something is communicated around the social circles when drugs are able to be distributed under the radar in our buildings. The very fabric of safety is violated when these things are able to happen right under our noses. It becomes a less safe place.

Then, there’s the safety of the people in the building which is profoundly affected. Under the influence of these drugs, people can become dangerous, and put others in risk of injury or worse. It can become a hazard or violence in the workplace issue, and that’s a long road that gets complicated.

So, great thanks to my experienced colleague who helped me connect the dots on that one. For me, I’ve now started to see a lot of these things from a safety perspective, and my motivation is now much more clear. I’m entrusted to keep everyone safe, and proactive measures to keep drugs away come from that place.

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About Ron Sherman

I am the principal of Salmo Elementary/Secondary School, a small rural K-12 school in the Kootenay Lake School District. Happy to be part of the Grand Conversation, moving learning forward and joining with great people every day. Runner, triathlete, skier, blogger, loving husband and father of 2 great boys
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