Trends in School Safety
Thanks to Joey Nutinsky, founder and CEO of Ruvna, for this great guest post!
Parents send their students to school everyday with many thoughts on their minds. Things like, “Did they do their homework?”, or “Is there soccer practice tonight?”. Students as well are thinking endlessly about academics, their social lives, college, and so much more. Instead of thinking about safety, and the state of security in our schools, many leave such thoughts to the school. However, this doesn’t change the fact that security is a huge concern for our schools. While we should be leaving most of these concerns for the school to address, it’s our responsibility to have an understanding of how our schools combat the safety concerns they face.
Here are just a few ways that our schools have been getting safer:
Security cameras are an increasingly common tool that schools use for a huge variety of reasons. Since 1999, the percentage of public schools with security cameras in place has gone up almost 300%. As the cost of implementing a security camera system continues to go down, it’s safe to say that this number will increase in the coming years.
Lockdowns are some of the scariest situations that can occur in schools. Safety during a lockdown relies on everyone knowing their roles and being prepared. About 61% of schools conduct lockdown drills annually, and these drills are a great way to make sure everyone in a school understands the protocols and expectations during an emergency.
3. Restricting Access
Part of my job involves visiting somewhere around 15 different schools a month. Some of these schools won’t even let me in the door without first scanning my driver’s license to check against various lists. While it’s definitely a hassle for me, it’s a great way to prevent potential incidents as quickly as possible. That being said, I’ve heard more than a few horror stories where the systems flag an individual for no reason (likely their name resembles another name with restricted access), making the systems less than 100% reliable.
4. Security Staff
Here’s a shocking fact: there are over 1,500 incidents of firearm possession at schools every year. For these criminal incidents, many schools have full-time security personnel on-site. The officers vary between on-duty police and private security solutions, but in both cases, their presence is not surprising. Safety should not be a secondary responsibility for school staff. It’s just too important. Hopefully the dedicated security staff spend most of their days dealing with miniscule issues. However, if/when there is a serious security problem, schools absolutely want a security professional on the scene.
5. Emergency Notification
Schools across the country are rethinking and innovating the “typical school day”. More schools are going towards open campuses, where students can leave the building at their leisure, and allowing students to learn more independently. One unfortunate result of this, is that it’s now more difficult for schools to dispense information to students. As such, great new emergency notification systems are being widely adopted. Schools can send texts, emails, and phone call alerts to students with the press of a button.
6. Being More Prepared
Of course, the above points on this list contribute here. Emergencies happen in schools, and while that’s unfortunate, schools need to prepare themselves. Thankfully, about 88% of schools today have written procedures in place for the scary situations that we hope will never happen, and that amount continues to increase. We’re seeing technology play a part in the school system, not only in education, but in helping to protect students as completely as possible.