The Importance of School Safety
American public schools have been under increasing pressure to prioritize safety. For institutions across the nation, from K-12 schools and early learning to higher education, security in the school climate is becoming more valuable than ever. A supportive and safe environment is essential when it comes to creating a place that helps a student perform their best.
But what can administrators and teachers do to make sure that learners are comfortable when they come to school? There are many approaches for leaders to implement to enhance educational security. Let’s get into the value of school safety, and what can be done to achieve it.
Modern safety solutions for schools
Anyone who has anything to do with the modern school system knows that safety considerations are much different than they were 30 years ago. However, the end goal is the same: For students and teachers to feel secure in their environment. As the world changes, so should school safety procedures. Plans should take into account currently available technologies and the general state of the nation. But these plans are ever-shifting, which could lead to school security procedures being unevenly adopted across the country.
From more intense safety concerns like outside threats to the management of everyday bullying, there is a wide range of modern issues that need to be taken into account. These problems have shifted even from last year, according to the Safe and Sound Schools 2022* survey of school district administrators on the topic. Their study revealed that there was “a decline in perceptions of overall safety,” when compared to the same survey from 2021.
While many of the solutions that will help increase school safety can be done without an additional budget, there are at-cost programs that might help students feel more comfortable and secure. Schools need to account for these in their budget. Regardless of an educational institution’s finances, safety should still be a top priority.
There are many grants that can assist a school administrator in increasing their school’s access to safety programs, according to the Office of Safe and Supportive Schools (OSSS). Administrators can also use the SchoolSafety.gov Grants Finder Tool to find additional funding opportunities.
How to create a comprehensive school safety plan
One of the best ways to keep a school secure is to have an easy-to-understand, reliable safety plan in place. There should be an actionable plan for every perceived scenario, and there are plenty of additional resources to help leaders craft their own strategies.
Safety Readiness Tool
SchoolSafety.gov has a free tool that can help you create a plan based on what is needed at a particular educational institution. The government school resource notes that not every action plan can be the same, but that their questionnaire gives leaders a good place to start by understanding how prepared a school currently is.
The government also offers many other tools that can help you in your continuing goal to improve the security of the academic institution. Here are a few more examples:
More schools are beginning to implement security measures. NCES notes one example: “Between 2009–10 and 2019-20, more schools have required faculty and school personnel to wear badges or picture IDs.” This has increased from 63% to 77% in the same time frame.
Preparing students and parents for an emergency
At the end of the day, students, parents, and school district staff alike should be prepared to quickly react to an emergency situation. Community members need to be involved in crisis response. Remember: One of the most valuable things that can be done to achieve this is to create a plan. From here, all involved should be aware of what the procedure is and how to smoothly enact it in order to mitigate a potential threat.
Use all available school building resources to prevent bullying, school violence, and the impact of natural disasters. We need to protect our children, especially those in their early childhood. This may include watching out for students’ mental health with a reliable school psychologist or forming a good relationship with local law enforcement. Preparation is the key and should be a continuous goal for all involved. Include parents in this process, especially when it comes to elementary school safety plans.
Agile Education Marketing is here to help organizations partner with school districts and administrators to craft a better plan with our education data resources. Are you ready to learn more? Reach out to our team today to get started!
*Reference: Safe and Sound Schools 2022