Where else but in Oklahoma would you have tornado and thunderstorm watches along with snowstorm warnings all in one week? It’s springtime! Crazy weather is just one of the concerns this time of year.The nicer weather (for the most part) sends people of all ages outside to enjoy ball games, walks and spending time at local or neighborhood parks.This is also a good time for spring cleaning; for example, getting rid of or removing any poisons in and around homes that could get into little hands. This includes locking up prescription drugs and alcohol. on SAFE-CALL is the nation’s first statewide school safety hotline, provides callers an anonymous, toll-free phone line 24 hours a day, 365 days each year. The purpose of the hotline is to report potential dangers or unsafe conditions at school so administrators can take preventive action. Concerned parents, students and community members are encouraged to report any suspicious activity or potentially dangerous situations as soon as possible.The hotline number is 1 (877) SAFE-CALL, extension OK1 (or 1-877-723-3225, extension 651), and reports can now also be made online at www.oksafecall.com.
Yet, these opportunities also mean thinking about safety.
Playground safety: April 19-25 is National Playground Safety Week and it’s time to remind children, parents and other caregivers about the potential dangers on playgrounds and the importance of playing safe.
The Oklahoma Department of Labor has once again partnered with the Oklahoma State Department of Education and Oklahoma Recreation & Park Society to sponsor the 2009 Playground Safety Poster contest for boys and girls in Grades 1 through 6.
Winners announced April 7 include grand prize winner Rachel Hackney, a 4th grade student at Sky Ranch Elementary in Moore. Her poster will appear on the new calendar, and other winning entries will be featured for each month. The calendar will be available in the fall.
Mental health professionals indicate that spring is, ironically, a time when people are more likely to suffer with depression or even consider suicide. Consider whether you know anyone in that difficult situation, and please encourage them to get help locally or by calling a suicide prevention hotline.
When it comes time to have springtime celebrations, many community groups sponsor after-prom or graduation night activities. Teachers, sponsors and parents also can encourage our children to make good choices by taking a stand against drugs or alcohol. Remind them that fun can be experienced and safety enhanced when no substances are used.
- Sandy Garrett, state schools superintendent