We expect schools to be our kids’ “home away from home.” But with the incidence of school shootings and other forms of violence occurring in campuses, you might be asking: Are our school campuses as safe as we think they are?
School security is a major concern of every parent or guardian. As such, it must be taken seriously by all stakeholders. But while the support of local authorities, teachers and students is of paramount importance, it is the school administrators who are fully responsible to ensure the security of lives and properties under their care.
School administrators must look into their security protocols and procedures, as well as, invest in technology and structures that will guarantee the safety of their premises. Close coordination with local authorities and consultation with security experts can also help make schools safe for all stakeholders.
How can schools keep their campuses secure?
Below we take a look at some security measures appropriate for school campuses.
1. Install CCTV system throughout the school premises
Surveillance is a cornerstone of a secured environment. This is why schools need to invest in an effective CCTV system that will cover every nook and cranny of the school campus. The best hidden spy camera must be installed in blind spots where unscrupulous parties can harbor.
2. Build reliable gates and fences
Access to school premises should be limited to authorized personnel only. Thus, it is a must that for the school perimeter to be fenced. The gate should also be secured by deploying security personnel or investing in access card-activated entry points. Knowing who comes in and goes out of the campus greatly helps in campus security.
3. Keep the school premises well-lit
Visibility is a critical factor in security. Intruders and criminals can lurk in the dark. This poses a risk for students and employees. Schools must ensure that the campus is well-lit at night by installing high-powered lighting fixtures. For cost-efficiency, consider installing the best motion sensor light which is activated only when it detects any motion, hence, you save up in power consumption.
4. Deploy security personnel
As mentioned above, a security guard must be stationed at every entry and exit point of the school – as well as, in other vital parts of the campus. Visibility of security guards can thwart any untoward plans.
5. Enforce strict ID and gate clearance system
Strict enforcement of an identification system can ensure that people who go inside the school are properly screened for security purposes. Anyone who wishes to enter the school compound, without valid ID, must be cleared at the gate. ID cards should also be worn at all times while within the campus. This will help security personnel and school members to identify unauthorized individuals.
6. Conduct mandatory security checks on all school personnel
Schools should carefully vet all school personnel they employ. Aside from the regular HR interview questions, school administrators must require all applicants to provide appropriate police clearances to ensure that they don’t pose a security threat.
7. Increase awareness of students and employees
Everyone should be aware of security policies and procedures. Regular awareness campaigns, conduct of drills, and inclusion of security related subjects can imbibe in the students and employees a consciousness that will keep them ready at all times.
8. Install central security alarm system
In the event of a security threat or an actual assault, communication is vital. A central unit alarm system can inform everyone within the premises of what to do. Evacuation drills should also be established and implemented so that students and employees know what to do in case the alarm is activated.
9. Discourage loitering within the campus
The fewer people there are in the campus, the easier it is to keep track on the activities that go on. As such, schools must discourage loitering within the campus, as well as, outside its premises. This could greatly help identify any suspicious activities.
10. Encourage everyone to report any suspicious activities or persons
School administrators should encourage students and workers to immediately report any malicious moves within and outside the campus. The school must think of ways to make reporting easier and hassle-free. For example, they can station report desks in every corner of the campus and make sure that the officers are available at all times.
11. Regularly review security policies
It’s not enough that you have security procedures on hand. Security threats and needs of a school may vary over time, as such, the school should review their policies from time to time. It would help to ask the assistance of security experts to assess the security needs of a school and how to better address these needs. Continuous review and improvement of these policies can greatly increase their effectiveness.
12. Be always vigilant
Lastly, everyone should be vigilant about any suspicious activities. Even if there are no actual threats, schools administrators should not be complacent. When a school becomes too lax or complacent, it can increase security risks.
These tips can help secure the lives of so many people within a school campus. Hence, they should be treated seriously. Care must be done to ensure that they are implemented at all times.