Sadly, it is no longer unusual to read about violence at schools – from elementary to college. And each time a new case of school violence is reported in the media, people wonder aloud what could have been done to prevent it.
While schools are still considered to be among the safest places for children and adolescents, occasional security breaches do happen, like a non-custodial parent picking up a child. That’s why keeping schools safe is a matter that all stakeholders should pay serious attention to.
The truth is, it is physically impossible to secure all schools at all times. But with thorough planning, you can mitigate risk factors. Here are some measures that you can take to keep your school safe in today’s security climate.
Conduct a security audit
Have your security plan and emergency protocols audited by independent security professionals to ensure that your security program meets your evolving security needs. This is doubly important if you adopted a security plan handed down by your school district, as it might not be customized for your school. There is no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to security. The audit findings should serve as the basis in upgrading your school crisis plans and emergency response procedures.
Secure your school entrance and exit points
One of the most basic things you can do to improve security is controlling the entry and exit points. By limiting entry to the school to one supervised entry point, you will be able keep unwelcome visitors away from students, teachers, and staff. You can do this by locking all other entry points and posting signage that direct all visitors to register at the main entrance. By utilizing a visitor logbook with self-expiring badges, you will be able to get a sense of who is coming into the school and for what purpose. You will likewise be able to set time limits to their visits. This is particularly useful for substitute teachers, caterers and volunteers, among others.
Work with local law enforcement
School security is a joint responsibility between stakeholders and law enforcement. In addition to partnering with students and their parents, you should coordinate with local law enforcement officials to assess and develop emergency plans for the school. Outline individual responsibilities and identify appropriate contact points to ensure a smooth response if and when the need arises.
Make school security everybody’s responsibility
Involve your students, teachers and staff in your security planning and implementation. Since they interact with everyone in school on a daily basis, they are in the best position to detect potential problems. Utilize this intelligence resource by setting up a system for students, teachers and even staff to anonymously report threats or suspicious activities in and around the campus.
Conduct regular lockdown drills
In addition to fire drills, do regular lockdown drills, too, so everyone is prepared if the unthinkable happens.
Establish an identification system
A simple ID card can go a long way in making your school safer. By requiring everyone in school to display ID badges at all times, it will be easy for security personnel to spot and challenge anyone who may not have a legitimate reason to be there. Most school districts have budgets for a school ID system, it’s important that it is utilized to help schools remain a secure learning environment.
To know more about the school identification systems and visitor management solutions mentioned in this article, speak with our ID security experts today at 1-800-667-1772. You can also reach us through e-mail.
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