From the Desk of CEO Judy Halper: August 2019

From the Desk of CEO Judy Halper

Anxiety about school safety is unfortunately on parents’ back-to-school checklist


Judy HalperWhen I was a kid, I looked forward to the start of a new school year. I liked everything about the process—new clothes, new supplies, new teachers, seeing old friends and making new ones. It was all so exciting!


As families prepare for the start of a new school year, there is another addition to the to-do list: many parents are addressing their children’s added anxieties, and I’m not referring to homework. In addition to worries about the cost of supplies and academic performance, it’s increasingly challenging for all of us, parents and children alike, to block out or disregard the violence all around us as we go about our normal, everyday lives including going to school, work and recreation.


At JFCS, we are seeing increasing numbers of people seeking assistance to manage their fears and disillusionment. Request for mental health case management is increasing, as are counseling appointments. Our Family Life Education programs reflect the need to address safety and understanding – read an excellent piece here on this topic by Leah Persky, Ph.D., JFCS Family Life Education Coordinator. In addition to sound advice, you’ll see suggested resources for ongoing planning.


It goes without saying that school should be one of the safest places for children in our society. It should be a place where they learn, socialize, and practice conflict management and kindness, among many other things. The historian Doris Kearns Goodwin recently stated that ensuring that schools remain safe institutions for our children is essential to the future of this country. We owe it to our children to instill a sense of security and hope, while also teaching them the necessary skills to identify danger and precaution. We owe it to ourselves and our communities to value inclusivity, be welcoming and offer assistance and support.