Install Security Systems
According to the Department of Justice, more than 98 per cent of schools have some kind of security technology to keep students safe.
An effective security system is made up of numerous tools such as intrusion detection, panic buttons, mechanical security hardware and adequate signage. These tools, while effective on their own, work best when implemented together.
Set Up Surveillance Cameras
Improve school safety by installing surveillance cameras both inside and outside the building.
Surveillance cameras offer you the chance to monitor staff, students and visitors as they enter or exit the building and walk the halls. And, as an added bonus, the mere presence of video cameras can deter bad behavior.
Surveillance cameras aren’t always enough. Sometimes, depending on the location or the time of day, having a physical person stand guard will be more effective in maintaining safety than a video camera.
Use Metal Detectors
For some schools, metal detectors might be the best way to keep staff and students safe.
Metal detectors don’t have to be a permanent addition to your school, in fact, they’re often used as a temporary solution or a last resort. So, like all these tips, weigh the pros and cons.
Lighting is one of the most commonly overlooked safety features in a school. If there is a certain location more prone to slips, falls or violence, adding permanent or motion-sensing lights can be an effective solution.
Put Up Fences
Fences are simple, yet effective, in keeping young students safe. Fences limit the chances of a student wandering off, getting lost or being lured off of school grounds.
Appropriate fences will also help keep intruders off school property.
Gates add an extra layer of security without compromising the movement of students in and out of the school.
Keep gates locked during school and in the evening but open them during high-traffic times at the start and end of the school day.
Procedures and Processes
Manage Visitors Effectively
A strong visitor authorization process will make sure that any visitor to the school is adequately identified, tracked and monitored. Allowing visitors to come and go as they please without any sort of tracking system can be dangerous for everyone in the school.
Fire Drill Procedure
To ensure the safety of your students, it’s important to have a comprehensive, well-known fire drill procedure.
For your procedure to be effective in keeping students safe, use designated alarm sounds to communicate that there is a fire. Have all teachers study the evacuation map so they know the correct exit route.
Disaster Drill Procedure
Natural disasters strike at any time, even when school is in session. Create a process that ensures the school is properly informed when there is a natural disaster watch.
Designate a natural disaster watch person who will monitor weather conditions in case it evolves into a warning. If it does, then it’s time to move students into safe areas.
Lockdown procedures are reserved for maintaining safety when there is an immediate threat to those in the school.
The procedure should explain how building occupants will be notified of a lockdown. Outline how to stay safe no matter the location. What should the student do if they’re in the bathroom, gym, cafeteria or hallway?
Create “Safety Folders”
Every classroom should have a safety folder.
This folder will contain general resources, such as school-wide safety procedures and basic first aid guidance. It should also contain individual classroom information, including directions to the nearest emergency exit.
A Central Reporting Mechanism
This year, implement a central reporting mechanism that anyone can use to submit a tip.
Your mechanism can be as formal as an online web form or as informal as an anonymous tip box. It’s the availability, not the method, that matters most.
Case Management Software
Case management software helps keep schools safe by reducing the time and effort required to investigate safety-related incidents.
The system stores all the data you enter in one place for cases including student and staff misconduct, slips and falls, bus accidents, suspicious visitors and more.
Groups and Clubs
Create groups or clubs for students to join. Groups help students find like-minded peers with whom they can build a friendship and a connection. Students who feel involved are generally happier, more trusting and supportive, and less likely to engage in dangerous behavior.
Another way to keep schools safer is to promote and encourage safety in class.
Have teachers incorporate a lot of group work, games and bonding activities into the class schedule to help students build positive, trusting relationships with both their peers and with teachers.
School-wide initiatives can be just as effective as in-class initiatives in promoting safety. Create posters explaining the new initiative or explain it on the morning announcements.
Create programs that combat the unique safety issues you’re having. For example, a “kids’ breakfast club” will encourage bonding (and healthy eating), and a “see something, say something” strategy will fight against bullying.
After-school programs are a great way to keep students, especially high-risk ones, busy and out of trouble.
The hours after school has ended and before parents get home from work are when a lot of disturbances seem to occur. So, if students are enrolled in after-school programs during this time, there is less opportunity for them to find trouble.
One of the best ways to educate staff and students on safety is to practice.
Conduct regular fire, lockdown and disaster drills throughout the year. Give those in the school a chance to practice the drill process without the extreme stress of a real threat.