Preparing Security Guards and School Staff to Combat Potential Dangers in the School
Securing of the schools in our country is essential. Every year there are more and more schools affected by lapses in security. At times, these lapses have even been deadly. Every school’s priority should be keeping the children safe, but the challenge is to do so without creating a distraction. A child that feels like he or she is imprisoned at school is not a child that is prepared to learn. This is why it’s important that educators and administrators are armed with technology that does not distract from the learning environment, and technology that is geared, first and foremost, at keeping children safe.
How Can School Leaders Be Prepared to Combat Potential Dangers?
Technology that is used in schools should be designed to collect data for collection by law enforcement agencies in the event of an incident, but more importantly it should be designed to prevent an incident from occurring.
Evaluate Current Safety Measures
The first step to actively combating potential dangers on a school campus is evaluating current security measures. Some elements to focus on may include:
Reducing the available ports of entry on the school building
Training staff to require identification and passes for school visitors, including parents, even if the staff recognizes them
Requiring all staff, administrators, and educators to have training on threat assessment, crime prevention, and emergency planning best practices
By working together, staff and faculty can make schools a safer place to be.
The next step to combatting potential dangers is by improving communication lines between the school, teachers, parents, and students. One way to do that is by revising district social media policies. By increasing the district’s presence on social media and by embracing the “social” aspect of social media, parents and students are given another resource if they feel like they need help. Using social media as a megaphone, which is the current method of choice by most school districts, does little to engage parents and students and can further isolate those that may have concerns.
To further encourage interaction, districts can post hotline numbers for different community resources on a rotating basis, highlight individual students and sports teams for their accomplishments, recognize outstanding educators, and be a source of information. Some districts have taken it a step further by creating private groups for parents of students that attend their schools so that parents can communicate with staff, teachers, and each other more easily. This has given the district another way to open up a dialogue within their community.
Equipping School Leaders to Protect Students
Many parents of school children are opposed to arming teachers, even if the argument for this is to provide additional protection for students. The reality is that educators need to be able to defend themselves and their students in some manner in the event of an emergency. At every grade level, our students are at risk.
Depending on what the school district allows, there are a few good, non-firearm options for school security officers, administrators, and teachers. Some school districts may allow educators to be armed with self-defense weapons like tasers, stun guns, pepper spray, or even bulletproof shields.
School districts will necessarily limit the tools that can be used on campuses in the defense of students, but there are some defensive weapons that they may consider viable options, depending on the grade level of the students and the security threats facing the campus.
Safety Protocols to Increase Security in Schools
While evaluating security risks, improving lines of communication, and providing means of self-defense are all important steps to take toward securing our schools, another vital step is implementing strong safety protocols. Having security cameras as well as hidden cameras on campus is an important part of any school’s safety protocol. By having regular security footage that can be reviewed, it provides law enforcement with the information they need in the event of an incident. It also provides staff and faculty with the ability to monitor what is taking place on campus, in real time. This can help identify students that are being bullied, students that are selling drugs, or any other form of illicit activity.
Another key element to ensuring safety on campus is having hidden cameras. Someone who is trying to get away with something is going to look for the security cameras, and they are going to look for the areas that don’t have them. By installing hidden cameras in these blind spots, administrators can better identify students that are engaging in illegal activities or having issues at school. Hidden cameras can be uniquely disguised as ordinary objects found in schools, like exit signs, smoke detectors, security lights, and more.
The last safety protocol that we’d like to highlight is an efficient lock system. Teachers need to be able to lock classrooms and administrators need to be able to securely lock buildings. Controlling the flow of students, as well as controlling access to buildings is one way to ensure that students and staff are kept safe. Electronic locks come with a variety of features such as the ability to store biometric information for up to 99 people, giving staff and faculty access to where they need to go, and even temporary access to guests via the pin pad. However, this is not a lock that’s easily bypassed, because without the key, pin, or biometric data, no one can gain entry.
Making the Best Decision for the Students
School security is of the utmost important to parents, educators, faculty, and staff all over the country. By making small technological changes, a difference can be made.
If you have questions about providing ongoing security for your school, we invite you to contact our team of security professionals. We are always available to provide answers to your questions and recommendations for your school security needs. For more information check out our article on addressing school security issues.