Do you prioritize school security in your school?
Insecurity is a threat to every sector. A school is a center for learning, and as such, should be safe, secure, and peaceful. But in a case where the school premises seem unsafe, both students and teachers will be reluctant to go to school. No child will be able to succeed academically if they do not feel safe in school. And no teacher will readily give their best to teach if they are not confident that the school is secure.
With the recent happenings in different regions across the world, it is extremely important to map out strategies to guarantee school security. As you read on, you will identify some school security threats and feasible ways to protect your school—including students, teachers, and properties.
School Security Threats and Ways to Keep Schools Safe for Learning
- Teach students to avoid staying in lonely places alone and always be alert and report suspicious and unusual behavior/happenings immediately.
- Encourage school security personnel to maintain a heightened awareness for suspicious activity and to report immediately. This may also include suspicious vehicles around school environments, suspicious persons in and around school buildings, including those taking photographs or video recording, suspicious packages, items, or devices around the building perimeter in the school, etc.
- Educate students on specific safety precautions when there is a fire outbreak or bomb threats.
- Have clearly defined perimeters for school, using fences, gates, environmental design, signage, and other professional security measures. Surround the school complex with fences made of welded wire or tubular steel, topped with spikes. This type of barrier is hard to cut and climb, as opposed to conventional chain link fencing.
- Always invite professional security personnel—once or twice every session—to check for loopholes (within and around the school) that could threaten the school security and recommend upgrades.
- Teach students to move away from any car or person that pulls up beside them, even if that person looks lost or confused.
- Educate school security guards to assess suspicious individuals representing themselves as service or delivery personnel. And when there is no verification, he/she should be reported to the appropriate authority.
- Reduce the number of doors accessible from outside the school or classrooms.
- Schools should also set boundaries about the places students can go within school premises.
10. Organize school security training for both academic and non-academic staff.
11. Use designated parking areas, especially for visitors, and register staff and student vehicles. Besides that, provide supervision and monitoring of parking lots and outside areas as appropriate.
12. Install cameras and intercoms at various locations in the classroom, staffroom, within school premises, and outside the school environment.
13. Always have adults stationed in hallways, bathrooms, and lunchrooms as an authoritative presence.
14. Ensure maximum supervision for playgrounds, and monitor activities at bus stops.
15. Devise and practice emergency action plans. Train school staff and students to use security/emergency codes compatible with the state/district.
16. Introduce school security education as part of the curriculum to educate students thoroughly on how to stay safe and tips for emergencies. There could also be practical sessions where the school conducts drills that mimic emergencies and watch how students, teachers, custodians, and administrative staff respond.
17. Keep building blueprints available for emergency responders. During an emergency or disaster, the rescue team needs to know the school layout and exact location.
18. Besides providing security cameras, schools can install panic alarms at teachers’ desks that sound in the administrative office, hallways, and classrooms.
19. Teachers’ desks should also be far from doors. Increasing distance gives teachers more time to act against an intruder.
20. All building occupants should be aware of the nearest exit. In other words, teachers and students must be familiar with the overall building layout.
One of the easiest ways to protect the school from external attacks is to have a supportive environment. Students should always look out for their peers and report anything suspicious. Teachers and administrative staff should also look out for their colleagues and work together to ensure the safety of students. Schools can also have spies who can disguise and watch over the school regularly.
The school authority can also work with community members and encourage them to report any suspicious activity outside the school building. Education can only progress in a secure environment.