School safety and security is an important issue that everyone within the community needs to be involved in. In this article, we will look at a 5-step plan for improving safety and security in school.
What are the most effective ways to improve school safety?
School safety is complicated. It affects students, teachers, administrators, and even parents in a variety of ways. However, it’s everyone’s responsibility, and schools need to be reminding stakeholders of their roles in safety and security within the schools.
So, what are the most effective ways to improve school safety? We will take a look at a 5-step approach.
- Define the problem
- Identify threats and measures to prevent them
- Develop and test strategies for prevention
- Advocate adoption of the strategies
- Continue measuring and adapting as needed
5-Step Approach to Improving School Safety
Below, we will take a closer look at each of the five steps listed above.
Define the Problem
The first thing you must do is understand the inside and outside environments regarding security and safety. Schools may have a variety of potential threats, including violence. Still, the demographics, region, and country affect the school’s functioning and how campus members interact.
Before security and safety programs are developed, administrators must take the time to gather information to define the issues that need to be addressed and where protection/preventative measures are required.
Identify Threats & Protective Measures
Once the threats present in the school and community have been assessed, this information can be analyzed to identify common factors that will affect the weaknesses in security and the appropriate operational approach and protective measures.
Incident trends should be identified to understand the vulnerabilities and assess protective factors that are already in place. This will determine what is working and what is not.
Develop & Test Strategies for Prevention
The information gathered in the first two steps can be used to develop and test some strategies for prevention. Security and safety plans for a school should be developed based on the specific risks and problems. This will allow for creating a more targeted approach to incident detection, response, and prevention.
Implement the new strategy, but keep in mind that it may need to be improved upon. Be sure to take corrective steps when needed.
Advocate Adoption of the Strategies
For the new security measures to work, everyone needs to adopt them. Work with everyone involved to communicate goals, encourage adoption of the strategies, and promote methods for reporting. This means that training programs will need to be implemented and plans/protocols distributed to stakeholders.
Unfortunately, security and safety are often taken for granted. Make sure to remind everyone that there are effective prevention programs in place and reward those participating. Adoption of the strategies is the best way to ensure security and safety at school.
Continue Measuring & Adapting as Needed
Improving safety and security in school is not a one-and-done, overnight process. This is something that requires continuous measuring and adapting. If the security program isn’t measured, it’s impossible to know whether or not it is effective.
When data is collected and analyzed, it helps the administration determine the underlying causes of violence, reveals areas where improvement is needed, and highlights the most effective prevention methods.
Due to the many incidents across the nation over the years, there are many safety and security measures, such as cameras and controlled access to the buildings during school hours. However, if there are no strategies to report and respond to suspicious activity, these measures may not be effective for preventing incidents.
This 5-step program can help administrators develop and maintain standard security measures and make the community aware of those measures.
Many schools are now hiring SROs, or school resource officers, to address security concerns. However, the administration plays a vital role in establishing this 5-step plan within their schools.
School safety and security is quite complicated because it involves so many different populations within the community. However, it’s also very critical because we want to know that our children are safe in school. Everyone needs to be involved in implementing safety and security measures within our schools. Consider this 5-step program to implement a safety and security plan within your school. Don’t forget that you need to evaluate it to make sure it’s still effective constantly or if some adjustments need to be made.
To speak with a security specialist to discuss your school safety plan, please schedule an appointment and we will walk you through the many options you have to keep your students and administration safe.