National School Safety Contest Draws Praise, Seeks Entries

Published October 1, 2000

Child trauma specialists say they expect’s national school safety poster contest to shed light on students’ feelings about school violence.

“A safe school poster contest not only raises awareness of the need for school crisis planning, but it also provides valuable insight into the minds of children nationwide,” noted Dr. Kevin Becker, director of The Trauma Center in Boston. The center is one of several sponsors of the poster contest, which aims to draw attention to the need for effective school crisis plans and safe learning environments.

To support Safe Schools Week, October 15-21, is asking elementary, intermediate, and high school students to design posters around the theme “My School, a Safe Place to Learn and Grow.” Information about the contest, including the entry form, is available at

National PTA spokesperson Patricia Yoxall called the contest a “great idea.” Jenny Raber of the West Virginia PTA said she hopes other PTA units “take advantage of the contest and do it.”

“By participating in this exercise, children can express their hopes and fears about the school setting in a way that is not threatening. What we may learn from the resulting posters is something we may have otherwise missed,” explained Becker.

The Trauma Center helps trauma survivors re-establish a sense of safety and predictability in the world, and provides them with state-of-the-art therapeutic care during the process of reconstructing their lives.

“The Trauma Center values the voice of children and students as they contribute to making our schools safe places to learn and play,” noted Becker. “Through their posters, these children will present a nationwide snapshot of how children feel about school safety, which can only support the need for more comprehensive, cutting-edge school crisis plans.”

Robert D. Macy, director of community services at the Trauma Center, agreed. Over the past year, Macy has led a special United Nations trauma team in developing a psychological recovery program for school-aged students in earthquake-ravaged Turkey. The program utilizes expressive therapy to help children work through their traumatic event.

“From my experience, much can be learned when you let children express themselves artistically,” said Macy. will announce the winners during Safe Schools Week in October. The three winners from each state will receive the online school-crisis planner PLANet for his or her school for one year, and one national winner will be awarded PLANet for his or her entire school district.

PLANet is the highly acclaimed online school safety planner and crisis manager from Strohl Systems, which also designs crisis planning and disaster recovery software for the U.S. Government and leading corporations.’s national poster contest has attracted a wide range of sponsors dedicated to school safety issues. Sunburst Technology, a Houghton Mifflin company, is donating an educational prize package to poster contest winners. Sunburst has been providing educational programs to pre-K-12 educators and guidance counselors for nearly 30 years. Other sponsors include Train Logic, Contingence Planning Management, and School Reform News.

For more information . . .

Entries for the Safe Schools Week poster contest must be postmarked by October 9, 2000. To review the contest rules and download an entry form, visit the sponsor’s Web site at