Not all threats to your school’s safety are internal threats. Unfortunately, external threats involving individuals who are not part of your campus community can arise, as well. In the 2018-issued Final Report of the Federal Commission of School Safety, one of the major school safety ideas was to control the physical security of the campus, by providing “layers of security” and “limiting the number of entry points” to campus buildings.
At the same time, though, the report issues the reminder not to let security procedures entirely take over, saying, “Schools are first and foremost places for learning. When designing physical security measures, schools should ensure that the primary educational mission is not sacrificed for enhanced security.”
So, the question on the minds of many superintendents, principals, and other decision-making authorities is how to create secure campus buildings while still creating a friendly, welcoming environment for students. Here, we’ll give you school safety ideas that do just that.
Only have one entry point for everyone and close off other entrances
Many schools already have closed off all entrances but one at the front of a building or buildings. Next, you want to incorporate signage that indicates that there are no other ways to access the building, so no one attempts to get in any other way (or gets lost!). This change ensures that side doors, service entries, and the like aren’t accessible, except to certain individuals. Further, it streamlines the entry process for students.
Retrofit buildings with more secure windows
Even if the doors are locked, unauthorized personnel could still enter the building via windows. Or, if an individual had bad intentions, they could shoot through windows and enter that way. Experts suggest retrofitting older windows with ones that lock more securely. Further, add bulletproof film or glass to existing windows.
Create a secure entry point that prevents visitors from getting beyond without checking in first
Once your single entry is in place, you then want to have a set of double-doors that require visitors and others to check in at your main office before continuing to other parts of the building or the campus. You may also want to install an intercom, camera, or buzzer that administrative assistants can control when approving access. Specifically, too, if you have a safety window that visitors must access before coming onto campus, add this type of glass to prevent a tragedy like Sandy Hook.
Secure all parts of the campus with fences and no trespassing signs
Even if you’ve secured all of your buildings, you still need to secure the perimeter of the campus, as well. To do this, many schools have already installed fences that keep unwanted guests off campus. After all, there’s no point in having security measures in every building if nuisances can confront students passing from building to building. To emphasize the seriousness of these fences, too, install “No Trespassing” signs that demonstrate the consequences of breaking onto the campus.
Only allow visitors to come to campus if they have a visitor badge
Keeping track of vendors, delivery people, parents, and other visitors who may come on and off your campus is a difficult job. That’s why a simple Visitor Management System like ScholarChip’s is necessary. When a visitor wants to gain access to your campus, the system will look through sex-offender registries to make sure that the person can come on campus. Next, it will print a visitor’s badge that indicates who is and isn’t supposed to be on campus.
Use an ID card-based door entry system
Using ID cards like ScholarChip’s Secure Door Access system to ensure that no one can get in through doors they shouldn’t be entering. Students, faculty, and staff can use these cards to get into the buildings and rooms they need to access, but others can’t get into these doors, even if they manage to enter the building.
If a student or staff member isn’t supposed to be somewhere at a certain time, too, the card will restrict access to doors by certain personnel at certain times.
Further, this system allows for the emergency lockdown of all of a campus’ doors immediately. This is another important security measure in case of an immediate threat.
Train faculty, staff, and students to follow these procedures
Even if your campus is entirely secure, students—and even faculty and staff—may not know how serious it could be to let unauthorized guests onto campus. So, it’s important to train them not open doors either at the front or inside of the building to strangers. Further, they should be briefed about the process for entering the building and registering guests so they understand why everyone needs to come through a secure checkpoint.
Protecting students, faculty, and staff from external threats is just as important as protecting them from internal ones. When your buildings are secured in the school safety ideas listed above, you’ll have more peace of mind that your campus is as secure as it can be.
ScholarChip offers a solution called Alternative Behavior Educator (ABE). This innovative program enables school leaders to identify, monitor, and improve student behavior throughout a student’s career, while giving administrators and teachers powerful data-driven reports that quickly flag at-risk students, help monitor and chronicle progress, and support decision-making tasks. The ScholarChip system incorporates the complete spectrum of behavior and integrates student rewards, interventions, and tracking with PowerSchool®, Infinite Campus, and other popular SIS platforms.
To learn how ScholarChip can help keep your schools safer and more secure, learn more about the many solutions ScholarChip provides, or to get free recommendations, feel free to chat with one of our specialists today!