School safety has become an important issue. Breach of school security puts the lives of students, teachers, and administrators in danger and also affects parents. It leaves a significant impact on the quality of learning and might also lead to lawsuits. So, it is the responsibility of the school administration to find ways to make schools highly secure and safe for all the students and staff.
Hiring a school security guard is not enough. Here are some general ideas which have been successfully implemented by safe schools in America in order to improve their security:
1- Schools should limit entryways to the building. There should be only one main entrance to the school for both the students, staff, and visitors. The rest of the access doors must be locked and checked periodically to make certain that they haven’t been tampered with. Periodic inspections should also include windows.
2- Monitor the school parking 24/7 by an armed security guard. Monitor activities of the parking lot such as people leaving and entering.
3- Monitor common areas. Student common areas, for instance, cafeterias, hallways, and playgrounds should be monitored and video surveillance equipment should also be installed to not miss anything.
4- Promote school-community partnerships. To enhance greater safety for students outside the school premises, security communities must be created. You can also ask parents to work as part-time members of the security team.
5- Hire professional security officials. Maintaining the presence of school resource officers and local police or security is also an important measure towards improving security.
6- Monitor visitor’s log. It should be made mandatory for all visitors to check-in at the main reception or security desk, sign-in and wear badges assigned to visitors. Train your security staff to look out for strangers roaming in school premises without badges. Report suspicious activity to security immediately.
7- Conduct threat and risk assessment. Proper procedures need to be defined and assessment should be conducted through specialized teams.
8- Review emergency plans and protocols. Update the school’s emergency plans and preparedness procedures such as lockdown, evacuation and communication procedures. Schools must share them with the staff, students, and parents and provide training to all regarding how to respond in such emergency situations. Teams of experts should review the plan regularly and hold drills to increase the effectiveness of emergency plans.
9- Conduct seminars and lectures on violence prevention programs. Encourage positive interactions between students and the staff on security issues. Provide students with counseling services to encourage them to open up with their counselors if they are having any problems.
10- Make students part of the security maintenance system. Students should be encouraged to take part in maintaining the school’s security and take their feedback from time to time to update your security measures.
11- Develop an Anonymous reporting system. Schools should take the initiative to start anonymous reporting and provide students with access to these systems. Sometimes students are unable to communicate with people due to the fear of judgment. Give them the opportunity to talk to people by being anonymous.
12- Have a core security team of a few personnel. Responsibility of locking and unlocking of school’s buildings should be assigned to limited people. Introduce strict protocols for key control. The number of people who have access to keys should be documented along with the rest of personal information.
13- Keep the rooms locked when not in use. Parts of the school building that are not in use must be locked and no trespassing should be allowed.
14- Two-way communication in classrooms. All classrooms should have a two-way communication system with the offices. Introduce a microphone and speaker in every class connecting the class with the security office. Switched on the communication system when needed.
By creating a caring school community where staff and students develop trust and respect for each other, the school administration can strengthen the school’s security. The students would feel connected with the school and would be able to get any kind of support they need whether physical, mental or behavioral.
Feel free to contact Agile Security for consultation on security requirements for your school.