Seven Ways You Can Help Us Keep Your Children Safe

Vivian Heard, Communications Manager
We recently shared six ways we keep your child safe at Pinecrest Academy.  In this “part 2” blog on safety, here are six ways you can help us keep your children safe:

1) Check in and sign out your child.
Accountability of all persons on campus is key to the protection of everyone. If you must check your child out early or bring them to school late, please contact the school at the beginning of the day. Make sure to come to the front desk of your child’s respective school, notify our front desk staff, and sign the activity logs on each desk.  If your child attends Aftercare, please be sure to sign them out and notify our Aftercare staff when you arrive to pick up your child.

2) Provide Appropriate Supervision After School and at School Events
Once students are dismissed from school, it is imperative that they are properly supervised and not roaming around campus. Make sure that your child is either with a teacher or coach after school or is enrolled in our Aftercare programs in the Lower and Middle Schools. High school students should not be in the building after 4pm and should leave campus if they are not involved in an after school activity.
Supervision at sporting events and other campus events is important in ensuring our students’ safety. Please keep your children in sight, particularly at our evening Varsity Football games in the fall, and at evening Soccer and Lacrosse games in the spring. While we always have Pinecrest personnel at all of our sporting events, it is our parents’ responsibility to watch their children and keep them safe.

3) See Something, Say Something® 
Homeland Security launched the See Something, Say Something® initiative, and designated September 25 as national “If You See Something, Say Something®” Awareness Day. The campaign is meant to inspire, empower, and educate the public on suspicious activity reporting. We can help keep our communities safe by learning the indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime, paying attention to our surroundings, and reporting any kind of suspicious activity. This is especially important to us while your children are on campus. We encourage all parents, students, faculty, and staff to stay vigilant and report suspicious activity to our security team or to anyone on our administrative team.

4) Please Drive Carefully on Campus
Each day, we have hundreds of children and adults at school, traveling between buildings and athletic fields on our 68-acre campus. When you drive on campus, please watch your speed and adhere to the stop signs. While we have protocols in place for keeping children safe, during carpool and during the school day, accidents can happen if a vehicle is traveling too fast or running stop signs. This is also important for our teen drivers and applies to after school activities as well. Please refrain from using your cell phone while driving on campus.

5) Monitor and Secure Your Child’s Electronic Devices
Pinecrest Academy has rules in place for the Lower, Middle and High Schools with regard to cell phones and other mobile devices. (See our handbooks on the Resource Board in the Portal.) Our goal is to protect students from inappropriate online material, reduce opportunities for cyber bullying, and keep students focused on and engaged in the classroom.
We could use your help at home. Talk to your child about the responsibilities and dangers that come with social media, cell phones, and use of the internet. Consider your child’s age when deciding to provide cell phone, social media, and internet privileges. Consider putting Covenant Eyes or another cyber protection tool that provides pornography blocking and safe search services on your child’s electronic devices.

Social media platforms can be very dangerous places for your child. If you allow your child to be on some of these platforms, like Instagram, Snapchat, Kik, Whisper, and other platforms popular with our youth, consider following your children and let them know that you are! Tik Tok is widely popular with middle schoolers because it has music, filters, stickers, and the ability for engagement via likes and shares. Common Sense Media has recommended that this app is appropriate for those aged at least 16 years old, due to mature content and information settings.
It’s wise to research the popular social media platforms your children may be interested in or already on! Your partnership helps us in our quest to keep your child safe in “cyberspace.”

6) Know about the Dangers of Vaping
You’ve probably seen recent stories of teens who have become seriously ill or who have even lost their lives after using electronic cigarettes or “vaping.” Unfortunately, vaping has been heavily marketed to children and young teens, particularly the Juul” brand. Juul pods contain a mix of glycerol and propylene glycol, nicotine, benzoic acid, and flavorants. The nicotine content is 0.7mL per pod, which is approximately equivalent to one pack of cigarettes, or 200 puffs. The Juul vape is hardly noticeable, and its USB-drive design can be hidden in the palm of a hand.
According to the American Lung Association, using electronic cigarettes or vaping, particularly the flavored varieties, can cause popcorn lung. Popcorn lung is the nickname for bronchiolitis obliterans, a serious and irreversible lung disease that can damage the smallest airways in your lungs, resulting in coughing and shortness of breath.

Please talk to your children about these very serious dangers, help us protect all of our students, and help us keep vaping off of our campus!

7) Make Family Time a Priority
Some of you may remember the PSA campaign, “It’s 10pm. Do you know where your children are?” This message was a reminder of the dangers that can await youth who are unsupervised. Engaging more with your children and knowing where they are can offer a safety net. Studies have shown that children who spend more time with their parents are less likely to experiment with cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana. And children who feel connected with their family are more likely to have fewer behavioral issues. Faith can play a role as well. Youth who attend church activities enjoy wholesome peer time in a safe environment and experience “positive” peer pressure to make good and safe choices.

Keeping your child safe is a top priority for all of us at Pinecrest Academy.  Safe environments are conducive to joyful, formative and successful learning, and we appreciate your continued partnership in keeping all of our children safe.
Pinecrest Academy is a private PreK3-12 Catholic school located in Cumming, South Forsyth, just minutes from Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Milton and Suwanee. We serve families of all faiths seeking a Christian education for their children. To learn more about our unique educational philosophy, visit our Welcome page.

The mission of Pinecrest Academy is reflected in the word Integer, which is Latin for “whole,” or “entire,” and reflects our goal of forming the whole child as an authentic “Person in Christ.” The school motto Semper Altius, means “Always Higher,” and challenges our students, parents, staff and faculty to strive for excellence in all areas of Integral Formation® - intellectual, spiritual, human and apostolic.