School safety is an ongoing and complicated issue for many schools in the US, whether you’re an educator, administrator, student or visitor, a school environment must always be safe, and schools must do everything in their power to prevent intruders and other potential dangers. It’s a school’s responsibility to build a positive and safe climate that supports learning and protects students and employees from danger whilst on the premises. It’s a reasonable requirement for students and educators to feel comfortable and safe when in a classroom. Here are 5 strategies to help your school provide a safer environment.
1.Practice Emergency Plans
Schools should make safety a priority and conduct monthly safety drills to assess protocols, educate students and ensure facilities are secure. By regularly practicing emergency drills including lockdowns, evacuations and emergency communication protocols, students can become familiar with the drills and act quickly during a dangerous encounter. When practice drills experience issues, it offers schools the opportunity to develop and update emergency plans and procedures to deliver a safer environment for both students and educators.
2.Monitor School Visitors
Visitors entering the school must report to the main office, sign in and wear a visitors’ badge. Schools can then inform administrators and educators to report strangers and intruders when they’re not wearing a name badge. By monitoring school visitors, it allows your school to be proactive in its approach to increase safety.
3.Create A Supportive Environment
Creating a safe and supportive school environment delivers school-wide behavioral expectations and enhances a nurturing school climate. One of the most effective methods to deter drugs, bullying and violence is to create a supportive environment where students will feel less inclined to engage in problematic behaviors. Students who genuinely care and respect each other are more likely to contribute towards a safer school environment. When faculty create an environment that incentivizes students to support each other, it creates an ecosystem that prevents violent acts from occurring at school, creating a positive social culture and increase academic results.
4.Involve School Counsellors
To improve the safety of your school, you can equip counsellors with programs that aim to reduce aggression and dysfunctional behavior. When students are provided with the right information and activities to learn self-control, emotional awareness, social skills and problem-solve without verbal or non-verbal abuse, it can immediately create a safer school environment. Counsellors are an important service that schools should utilize to help students and provide the right resources and materials to overcome behavior issues.
Schools can use information from students, educators, employees, parents, and caregivers to analyze their opinions of school culture and climate. This information can be used to work towards a safer school and develop improvement plans. Schools can further leverage partnerships with the community to enhance safety measures for students beyond the school property, including Neighborhood Watch programs and the Police. Taking these extra measures can help your school create a supportive environment where students feel safe and connected.
Administrators can simply reinforce school safety practices and procedures, however, to improve school safety, students and educators must work together to develop a strong supportive environment and correctly implement emergency safety plans. It’s not easy to encourage students to follow through with visiting a counsellor or immediately conjuring a supporting climate, it takes time and ongoing effort. Schools can work towards these outcomes and improve safety by reinforcing existing safety measures while implementing new safety measures, monitoring school visitors, and leveraging new community partnerships.