St. Mary's Safety Program
Mandated by the Archdiocese, an important component to our Religious Education Curriculum is a very comprehensive Personal Safety Program. As we enter into our sixth year offering this program, we realize what a wonderful opportunity this is to help and support parents introduce the most current best practices to help keep their children safe.
Over the last couple of years, based on parent input, we changed the safety schedule to allow the program to be offered during regular Religious Education classes so as not to disrupt everyone’s busy schedule. Feedback has been very positive and encouraging. Thanks to guidance and encouragement from Father Manning, St. Mary Parish has been a leading front-runner in implementing a child protection program and now eleven other parishes in the area have sought to duplicate our model!
This program covers several very important topics—general safety issues, internet safety, and keeping our bodies safe. In a very non-threatening, age appropriate manner, this faith based program provides children the skills they need to recognize potentially dangerous situations and what they can do should they ever find themselves in an unsafe situation. This will be done directly and indirectly in various ways and modalities within the school year.
Although the general safety topic may seem repetitive and unnecessary to some parents, please remember that a foundation is being laid to reinforce and empower the children to remember that they are a precious gift from God who needs to follow all types of rules so they can grow up to be happy and healthy; ready to do whatever God asks of them.
A study last year by The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children concluded that the child protection message needs to be reinforced minimally twice a year by someone OTHER than a child’s parent or guardian if it is to remain effective. When the message is heard in the home, schools, religious education programs, etc., it becomes an everyday way of life which empowers children to talk openly to their parents and not keep secrets out of fear or shame or not being believed.
We ask all parents to take a moment and pledge the following to your children:
You are VERY important to me! If you have a safety problem, I want to know. Even if I seem too busy. Or might feel upset. Or don’t understand at first.
Even if someone we care about will be upset. Even if it is embarrassing. Even if you made a mistake. Please tell me and I will do everything in my power to help you.