A Different Approach to Campus Safety: Parental Involvement

Steve Satterly, who is a school safety specialist in Indiana sent me an article relating to increasing school violence in Vietnam yesterday. I have lectured there before and will be in Vietnam for most of February for a nationwide tour, so this was of special interest to me. 

The article he sent me outlines concerns in Saigon of increased school violence. One incident involved a boy being stabbed to death on his way home from school. Though edged weapon attacks of students after the school day has ended have occurred in the past, school and government officials report an increase in incidents and are quite concerned.  

Another incident involved girls in a high school stripping a classmate naked and taking pictures and video of her to post on the internet. Other incidents were reported as well, and school officials note a significant change in some parental attitudes towards the behavior of their children at school. 

Traditionally, Vietnamese educators have had far more authority over students than in the United States, and the role of disciplinarian has rested with the child’s parents. Vietnamese students also traditionally received a distinct grade for social skills and behaviors. A failing grade can result in expulsion from school for severe behavior or retention at grade level until the behavior improves. 

The recent series of school violence events have resulted in meetings where increased student supervision, parental involvement and involvement of police officials have been discussed as options. But the main thrust of the dialogue has been the need for parents to become more involved in the education of their children relating to school violence. 

In contrast to the United States where we emphasize the role of the school in controlling violence, the response in Vietnam has been to keep a focus on the parent as having the primary responsibility. It will be interesting to see how this situation develops as the country continues to change dramatically.

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About the Author


Michael Dorn serves as the Executive Director of Safe Havens International, a global non profit campus safety center. During his 30 year campus safety career, Michael has served as a university police officer, corporal, sergeant and lieutenant. He served as a school system police chief for ten years before being appointed the lead expert for the nation's largest state government K-20 school safety center. The author of 25 books on school safety, his work has taken him to Central America, Mexico, Canada, Europe, Asia, South Africa and the Middle East. Michael welcomes comments, questions or requests for clarification at [email protected]. Note: The views expressed by guest bloggers and contributors are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Campus Safety magazine.

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