Our nation’s schools are faced with ongoing and growing threats: Violence, Drugs, Bullying, Crime, Natural Disasters and even Terrorism. Is your school prepared?
There is a wealth of school safety and security resources available on the Internet. Although prevention and crises management tactics are extensive, five common themes tend to frequently emerge:
- Survey the Complex for Safety and Security Improvements: This can include everything from security fences and cameras to lighting and emergency power and even Principalm+, to provide your school staff anytime, anywhere access to your student information.
- Form a Team: In an emergency, you need to respond quickly. Ensure that every member of your team knows what role they need to perform in an emergency.
- Set up a Communication System: Communication is vital in any crisis situation. Equip your team with two-way radios and smartphones with Principalm+ for 24/7 access to your student data (including student/staff medical information and emergency contacts).
- Define, Publicize and Practice your Plan: Write a policy that defines what behaviors are acceptable or not acceptable in your school. Train your faculty and staff how to defuse potentially violent situations. Promote parent participation. Outline procedures for crises management. Practice those procedures regularly.
- Improve Student Relationships: Prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best way to prevent violence, drugs, teen pregnancy, bullying and more is to get to know your students and show that you care. When students feel invisible, they will go to any limit to get attention — even negative attention. Tools like Principalm+ and LearnFaces that help eliminate anonymity, also help eliminate student deceit, truancy and other undesirable behaviors. Watch what happens when you begin to improve your student connectedness. When your students feel that you know them and that you care about their success, they begin to shine … and other problems simply fade away.
One final comment to keep in mind. Improved school safety and security doesn’t have to cost huge amounts in capital improvements that make our schools more like jails. Sometimes simple improvements can go a long way. Start with the most economical means of reducing risks, such as trimming overgrown bushes and involving parent volunteers. Make strides towards getting to know your students, and ensure that your team always has access to student emergency contacts, medical information, disciplinary notes and more … with Principalm+.
Learn more about improving your schools safety and security measures. Investigate some of the following great resources.
Safety and Security Resources:
Early Warning, Timely Response: A Guide to Safe Schools (US Department of Education)
This guide offers research-based practices designed to assist school communities in identifying warning signs early and developing prevention, intervention and crisis response plans. The guide includes sections on:
- Characteristics of a School that is Safe and Responsive to All Children
- Early Warning Signs
- Getting Help for Troubled Children
- Developing a Prevention and Response Plan
- Responding to Crisis
- Methodology, Contributors, and Research Support
Safeguarding Our Children: An Action Guide (US Department of Education)
The Department of Education and the Department of Justice have joined forces to create a 68-page “how-to” guidebook to help schools and communities prevent school violence. Safeguarding Our Children offers practical tips for designing and implementing school safety plans to reduce violence and help children get the services they need. Some of the main recommendations include (1) focus on improving student-teacher relationships; and (2) employ the three-stage model of prevention, early intervention, and intensive services.
Crisis Planning Guide for Schools and Communities (US Department of Education)
Both a brochure and a guide are available on this government webpage. Prevention, Preparedness, Response and Recovery are the key themes in this information booklet.
Here are some additional websites:
Safe and Drug Free Schools Program (US Department of Education)
This Department of Education program provides information about government initiatives and grants for a wide range of school and community based education and prevention activities.
Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center
This government-established centre produces three publications and provides ample resources for crises management.
Learn More: http://rems.ed.gov/index.cfm?event=publications
National School Safety Center
The National School Safety Center serves as an advocate for safe, secure and peaceful schools worldwide and as a catalyst for the prevention of school crime and violence. This website provides various resources on creating safe schools.
Learn More: http://www.schoolsafety.us/
Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2007
This report is the tenth in a series of annual publications produced jointly by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Institute of Education Sciences (IES), in the U.S. Department of Education, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in the U.S. Department of Justice. This report provides data on topics such as victimization, fights, bullying, classroom disorder, weapons, student perceptions of school safety, teacher injury, and availability and student use of drugs and alcohol.
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