A school, by the very definition, is meant to be a safe place. This is because it is difficult or even impossible for learning, or the proper version of it, to take place in a hostile environment. This means that in order to carry out their duty of educating minds, schools must be security conscious. School security could also be referred to as school safety and it is a term that is defined as the idea of keeping students, teachers and other staff safe from violent and/or harmful behavior. School security measures should be reviewed most often because of the nature the schools are; they record high traffic of people and are filled with vulnerable victims. This makes them attractive to potential assailants and intruders.
School security measures
School hours are the time that schools are most at risk from intruders or assailants. Although most schools are closed during operational hours, usually 9 am – 3 pm, their doors are usually open to all in the opening hours of the morning and the evening. There are a couple of ways to protect the school during this period and also during operational hours.
1. Staff to be on the look
A good way of combating this glitch in the system is to position members of staff at entry points of the school during the opening and closing hours. They will then be able to identify strangers and promptly apprehend or ask them for their business, as the case may be.
2. Provision of visitor’s tags
Another good idea for stopping potential intruders from slipping through the gaps is to assign visitor tags to visitors, especially parents. This will allow members of staff to easily identify a stranger on school premises as such a person would be without a visitors’ tag.
3. Parents to take responsibility or use the school bus
Parents should be advised to monitor the progress of students to school if they cannot take them. They should avoid entrusting wards to strangers such as taxi drivers. The recommended path is for parents to take their children to school if they cannot make use of the school bus. And on getting to the campus, parents should ensure that their children enter the school premises before leaving. This would reduce cases of abduction and loss of children.
4. Identifying and testing security strategies
It is important for the school authorities to identify and test strategies to use in protecting students so as to not be caught unawares. Most of the work of school security has to be done by the school itself. Schools need to identify potential threats and evolve preventive measures to deal with those threats. Identifying and categorizing security risk trends can help school security come up with different and effective ideas to combat threats to school safety.
5. The hiring of security staffs
Staffing is often a big problem to deal with when a school tries to set up a security apparatus. Oftentimes the focus is on academic and janitorial staff at the expense of security staff. However, schools need to understand that teaching can only be done in a safe space and they should hire accordingly. Staff dedicated to security should be hired to man the school gates at all times if possible. This will deter intruders and send a message of security consciousness to potential threats.
6. Parents and Student to play their role too
It is impossible for teachers, or indeed school, alone to combat the issue of security. Far too often parents and students take their role in securing the safety of their children and schools respectively for granted. This is an unsafe attitude to have if the school ever hopes to ensure school safety for a maximum learning experience. Students and parents must be taught to be security conscious. The “see something, say something” tactic should be deployed. This would help ensure that no threats slip through the cracks of the school’s security apparatus.
7. Time to time update of the security systems
While it is good to put safety measures in place, schools need to understand that school security is not a destination but a journey. The school security measures and, generally, the system needs to be updated and changed in order to combat emerging threats. Security measures need to be analyzed against crime statistics in order for school management to discover what works what doesn’t. This will enable growth and proper evolution in the security system.