Schools should be safe and inclusive spaces where students and their teachers can feel at ease, thrive, and grow. But unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Many threats, whether inside or outside a school, can disrupt the peace, instill fear, and even take away precious lives. As it becomes increasingly obvious that thoughts and prayers will do nothing to prevent future school shootings.
How Can Schools Improve Safety and Security?
1. Monitor the School’s Surroundings
The school, parking lot, and surroundings should be monitored as students arrive and leave inside.
The school’s main entrance should be identified, and all other doors and windows should be locked to prevent unwanted guests from entering.
Furthermore, rooms not being used should be locked, and only a few people should be responsible for locking and unlocking the school.
2. Monitor Everyone Who Visits the School
To improve school safety and security, school staff should be able to know who is inside the property at all times.
This means that anyone who wants to enter the school should be monitored. Visitors should head to the main office to sign a register and get their visitor badge.
Anyone who doesn’t belong in the school and doesn’t wear any visitor badge should simply not be allowed to be there.
3. Implement Gun Detection Technology
In a school, pat-downs are not a good idea. Instead, gun detection technology should be installed at every school entrance, not just the main one.
The key is to choose discreet school security solutions. Ideally, the system will not alarm students while effectively detecting guns, knives, and other potential threats.
Whenever your gun detection technology detects a concealed weapon, your security staff will be alerted and able to respond immediately to prevent a tragedy.
4. Install a Video Surveillance System
Installing a video surveillance system could make sense in a school where violent incidents regularly occur between students. Even if security staff is hired to monitor common areas, cameras might be able to see what they have missed.
A video surveillance system will also help the school staff identify any suspicious behavior and could be used to spot unwanted visitors who are not wearing any badges and should not be allowed to walk around the school corridors.
5. Develop an Emergency Response Plan
No one wants to imagine that a shooting or a fire could take place in their school.
But to keep everyone safe, you must know that tragedies can occur anywhere and develop an appropriate emergency response plan.
Security staff should get together to decide how to respond to different situations. The emergency response plan should be reviewed regularly, and simulation drills involving the students should occur.
6. Create a Safe and Supportive Climate
How else can schools improve safety and security? Creating a safe and supportive climate for everyone studying or working within their walls.
Violence prevention programs, social-emotional learning, mental health services, and positive interventions can do a lot to prevent isolation and feelings of resentment.
The goal is mainly to help students feel like they are part of an inclusive community and that support and help will be provided whenever needed.
7. Watch for the Warning Signs
School staff and students should know the warning signs that a student could turn to violence. They should be trained to watch for these warning signs and to report them.
Being a victim of bullying, experiencing social withdrawal, uncontrolled anger, aggressive behavior, discipline issues, destruction of property, and drug and alcohol use could all be signs that a student could eventually cause harm to themselves or others.
8. Encourage Everyone to Report Potential Threats
Students and school staff should have access to a simple reporting system to report any potential threats they are aware of.
This threat reporting system should be an anonymous platform that everyone can feel safe using, whether it’s an online platform, a telephone hotline, or a box where it’s possible to add messages written on a piece of paper.
9. Implement Filters for Inappropriate Content
Finally, implementing a content filter can be an excellent way to prevent students from accessing inappropriate content at school.
A content filter can help school staff identify the students searching for potentially harmful content, preventing them from seeing it.
A content filter will also keep the school’s data safe from malicious attacks, which is another way to protect students and staff.