In the past, parents would never have asked about it. But today, in the wake of incidents of violence and sexual assault involving schools, safety has become a serious issue--especially in big-city schools.
"Parents are concerned," says the principal of High Park Centennial Montessori School, in Toronto, where there was an intruder incident last year.
During school hours, she says, all doors are locked, there is a door person in control, and no one gets into the school without going to the reception desk and getting an ID badge. "We take safety very seriously," says Stephanie Ling, principal of Toronto's Cornerstone Preparatory School, "especially because we are downtown."
The building is checked before children arrive for the preschool program at 7:30 a.m., there's a buddy system for children going to the washroom during class time, recess is closely supervised and, on school trips, there is a one-to-three or better adult-to-child ratio. "It's part of who we are and where we are," Stephanie says.