School administrators, parents, guardians and students must all be familiar with school safety protocols. This ensures everyone is on the same page and can be a life-saving measure in emergency situations.
Encourage students to speak up and report threats or suspicious activity. They must not be afraid to ring the alarm bell without fear of being labeled a “tattletale.” School administrators should consider providing resources that allow for anonymous reporting.
1. Install Surveillance Cameras
The use of surveillance cameras is an effective school safety tool that deters criminal activities like theft, break-ins, vandalism and trespassing. Studies have shown that the mere presence of security cameras can stop crime because perpetrators know they’ll be caught on camera and are likely to avoid schools where they’re aware of cameras.
Visible school security cameras can also deter students from engaging in bullying or inappropriate behavior since they will be able to see that their actions are being monitored by others. Security cameras can also help monitor entraces and exits for security purposes, especially in outdoor campus areas like parking lots.
Many schools are concerned about child predators lurking on their premises. Cameras with face recognition technology like Verkada’s AI security system can send administrators an alert if a known criminal approaches the school, helping to keep the campus safe and protect students.
2. Install Metal Detectors
Metal detectors feature advanced technology that can help make schools safer. They use electromagnetic waves to search for metal objects like guns, knives and e-cigarettes. They can also help deter students who may be considering bringing a weapon to school.
However, it’s important to remember that no security measure is foolproof. They can be tampered with or bypassed, and they are not a substitute for a comprehensive safety plan.
Instead of relying solely on physical security measures, schools should consider using a combination of measures, including fostering strong relationships with local law enforcement and implementing strict school policies that encourage open communication between staff, students and parents. They should also implement a variety of safety measures, such as installing programmable lights to prevent slips and falls or adding motion-sensing lighting to areas that are prone to criminal activity.
3. Install Lighting
Many schools struggle with outdated, inefficient lighting. The good news is that an upgrade can not only enhance school safety, but also reduce energy consumption and improve occupant comfort.
A thorough security audit should include a lighting assessment to determine what needs to be updated, including switches, wiring and opportunities for occupancy sensors and Off/On timers. This can help to reduce energy usage and speed up the payback period.
Limiting access points by locking outside doors and posting signs on other entries redirecting visitors to the main entrance can improve school safety. Additionally, conducting regular fire, lockdown and disaster drills can better prepare students, teachers and staff for what to do in an emergency. Additionally, counseling at-risk students or faculty who exhibit warning signs can help prevent violence.
4. Invest in a Two-Way Communication System
Schools need to be able to communicate quickly and efficiently when emergencies arise. This is particularly important in the case of violent situations, where quick communication can help prevent the situation from escalating.
A school communication system can help ensure that students, teachers and parents are updated about any emergency situation. It can also be used to communicate other important information, such as academic updates and homework assignments.
Two-way radios offer many benefits over other methods of communication, including cost-efficiency and sound clarity. They are also easy to use and can be implemented into a mass notification system. They can be purchased on a managed program that includes maintenance and repairs at a fixed price, which can save schools significant time and money. They can also be used in areas where cell phone signals are poor due to dead zones and signal black spots.
Schools need to be able to relay critical information to staff quickly and easily during an emergency. Two-way radios are a valuable tool for this purpose, offering the ability to share messages with one person or an entire team at the push of a button. They also provide confirmation that a message has been received, ensuring everyone is on the same page.
School security officials should also consider implementing networked intercoms that can integrate with their phone system. This would give faculty a direct line to the administrative office and allow them to communicate directly with law enforcement in the event of an emergency.
To ensure that school security plans are effective, administrators should perform frequent drills. Then, they should evaluate the effectiveness of their policies and practices and make any necessary adjustments. After the initial cost of installation, two-way radios don’t require monthly charges or handling fees like cell phones.
5. Invest in Digital Safety Programs
The back-to-school season requires heightened vigilance on the roads and in schools. Make sure to drive safely and encourage your students and neighbors to do the same. Due to Alyssa’s law, it has become important for schools and responders to respond faster for the sake of the students who might be in danger in life-threatening situations.
Keep an eye on what’s going on in your school by installing surveillance cameras inside and outside the building. Cameras can help to deter potential criminal activity and also provide a record of any incidents that occur.
Encourage all staff and students to report any threatening behavior using a school safety app that allows for anonymous reporting. Identify any at-risk students or faculty members who exhibit warning signs and provide them with additional monitoring or resources to reduce their risk of committing a crime.
6. Install Alarm Systems
Students and staff often feel safe in schools that have access control, alarm systems and CCTV. Tip lines can also help staff identify concerns such as bullying, self-harm or a potential school shooter. Acknowledge reports and start investigating right away.
Students in groups are safer than students alone, so encourage them to walk or ride their bikes in groups and to avoid taking dangerous shortcuts. Encourage parents to talk with their children about school safety and teach them the importance of reporting any concerns to them.
Keep school-based emergency procedures fresh in minds with frequent drills throughout the year. Make sure everyone knows the drills, including students and staff members. Finally, encourage everyone to slow down and obey the speed limit in school zones. This will reduce the risk of accidents and injuries. This is especially important during the back-to-school rush.
7. Invest in a Security System
Investing in the right security system is one of the most important things schools can do to protect students and faculty. This will give them a sense of safety and ensure they get help quickly in case of an emergency. It can also deter potential troublemakers by making them think twice about coming onto school property if they know there are cameras and other security measures in place.
Encourage your staff and students to play a role in school safety by providing anonymous reporting systems (student hot lines, “tell an adult” campaigns and suggestion boxes). It is also helpful to do regular fire drills and update school procedures based on changing technology and new information. The more your staff knows the warning signs of violence, the better prepared they will be to react. The key to any security measure is the people who use it.
It’s important for schools to have security systems in place that are scalable and designed for the future. This ensures that they don’t run into any limitations as their school and campus grows and changes.
Invest in a two-way communication system that connects teachers, students and security personnel with each other. This can help everyone stay safe in the event of an emergency and reduce the risk of confusion during a crisis situation.
Consider investing in a tip line that allows for reports of bullying, self-harm and other safety issues that may not be visible on surveillance cameras. Also, encourage student group activities that help them find like-minded peers and develop strong bonds, making them less likely to engage in dangerous behavior. Also, incorporate lessons into classes that prioritize digital safety and promote healthy internet habits.
8. Invest in Physical Security
For students to thrive in their educational environment, they must feel safe. School security includes a combination of policies, procedures and physical security measures.
For example, implementing fences around school property can limit student access and deter potential crimes like vandalism or trespassing. Additionally, ensuring that all doors are kept locked during school hours can prevent unsupervised access to the building.
Additionally, introducing groups to classrooms and clubs can help kids build trusting relationships with their peers while reducing their likelihood of engaging in risky behavior like bullying. Parents can also encourage children to walk with friends to and from school instead of alone.
Finally, making sure everyone in the school understands and follows emergency protocols can prevent a crisis from spiraling out of control. This requires regular drills and clear communication systems that facilitate quick notification of law enforcement or first responders.