When it comes to school safety measures, education leaders tend to focus on barriers to entry, videotape monitoring, and controlling access to buildings and classrooms. While implementing these measures is smart and often effective deterrents against school violence and security breaches, there will always be a risk that someone with bad intentions may slip through the safety net. That’s when school leadership’s emergency response plan is put to the test.
How to Design Effective School Safety Measures
The first critical step in creating a security breach response plan is to ensure that every staff member and student has tools and strategies they can use during an incident. Make sure every person on campus knows what action to take based on their location. It’s also important to include local fire and police departments in the planning process. These are the people who will run onto campus when everyone else wants out. How will they access buildings and classrooms? Do they know what security technology you have implemented?
School Safety Technology
As school leaders adjust to the growing security demands at their campuses, many turn to technologies that create barriers to entry and enable intelligence-gathering. Implementing the right technology can mitigate incidents of violence and help first responders neutralize attackers faster. Here are three important tech-based school safety measures every campus can use to effectively react to a security breach.
1. Robust communication systems allow staff to share information with emergency services and each other. This may include radios that can use the same frequencies as police and fire departments, as well as a mass text notification system that alerts and informs all staff within the school district. Careful use of mobile apps and social media should be practiced to keep parents and other community members apprised of a developing situation.
2. Centrally controlled door access systems can restrict an assailant’s movements within and between buildings. A basic system will require students and staff to scan ID badges to enter various parts of campus; anyone without a badge will be denied access. A great access management system will feature an emergency lockdown mode that closes and locks interior doors, potentially trapping an attacker between two sets of doors in a corridor. Two added bonuses of Smart ID badges are that they can be used to automate attendance-taking—returning valuable instruction time to teachers—and through automated attendance, give transparency to student whereabouts.
3. Video surveillance systems allow office staff, School Resource Officers, and emergency responders to see what’s happening on-campus in real-time, and react accordingly. Seeing events unfold can also help protect others on campus and provides a forensic record of the event that can be useful in court, and in future emergency response training.
What Other School Safety Measures Should Leadership Implement?
A study by the Rand Corporation found that “school climate has the strongest association with violence after accounting for multiple school characteristics.” A school climate that allows bullying and conflict to go largely unchecked creates the perfect atmosphere to foster serious violence.
Therefore, the most effective school safety measures may be more student-focused than you think. After all, threats of violence can just as easily come from inside the school community as outside campus boundaries. But when a school and its students are facing tough challenges all day, every day, it can feel impossible to develop strategies that create a more positive school climate. But there is at least one tech-based tool that can help schools shift campus culture to become more positive.
Introducing ScholarChip Alternative Behavior Educator
This is where a fourth tech-based school safety measure can be extremely helpful: the ScholarChip Alternative Behavior Educator. It’s a digital tool that allows staff to share information and concerns about student behavior with each other in real-time. Achieving this level of communication can be nearly impossible for busy teachers, but putting all notes in one central digital location makes it realistic. Keeping notes in a secure online database also protects student confidentiality.
ScholarChip ABE empowers students to take ownership of their behavior and personal growth by delivering tailored lessons and providing instant feedback. These engaging lessons are assigned by a school counselor or administrator, based on the student’s individual needs. Completing ABE lessons on electronic devices keeps students engaged and interested in their own learning.
ScholarChip ABE’s reporting features create a foundation for students, staff, and parents to have real conversations about how the child can contribute more positively to the school climate. Reports can also give the student and school counselor a good starting point during their conversations.
Want to Learn More About ScholarChip’s School Safety Measures?
As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Consider using some of your school security resources to prevent incidents from happening in the first place, so that your incident response protocols aren’t needed.
ScholarChip ABE integrates seamlessly with many student information systems, including PowerSchool. Ready to learn more about creating a positive and supportive school environment that discourages violence? Contact ScholarChip’s customer service team today.
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 by speaking to one of our specialists today!