Boost Physical Security Measures
The National Center for Education Statistics’ Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2013 report
, published in June 2014, indicates the various measures schools took during the 2011-2012 academic year to keep students and staff safe. According to the report, 88% of public schools reported that they controlled access to school buildings by locking or monitoring doors during school hours, and 64% reported that they used security cameras to monitor the school.
Tech-based security has become popular among most districts as a means to protect schools and monitor activity. Cameras in schools have been fairly common tools for many districts, but these hardware devices are becoming even more prevalent and more advanced as a technology tool – picking up sound, allowing better zooming capabilities, and providing detailed, color-rich images.
On the other hand, installing cameras on school buses is a newer concept. Take a look at this news article
featuring Mobile County Public Schools in Alabama. With a goal of deterring cars from driving through bus stop signs when children are being picked up or dropped off, these cameras can be used to make rides to and from school safer. Having the ability to monitor what goes on in (and en route to) your schools can make all the difference in discouraging negative activity, while video footage can provide a crucial resource if an illegal or emergency situation does occur.
Know Where Your Students Are
Another way districts can keep an eye on happenings inside and outside their school buildings is to prevent any possible intruders by locking exit and entrance doors during the school day. Many districts require visitors entering the school building to go to a central door or front office location to enter. Doorbell systems are also common, where front office staff buzz in people entering the building. Then, office employees direct visitors to sign in and provide them with visitor passes or badges. Some schools have even installed visitor management kiosks to run an instant background check on those entering the building. Visitors’ information is recorded in a school database as a precaution, to serve as reference if a suspicious situation arises.
In addition to tracking and recording who is coming in and out of school buildings, consider evolving your attendance process beyond "where a student should be" in favor of "where a student is." Education innovations like Positive Attendance have the added bonus of facilitating a flexible, future ready learning environment at the same time.
By simply tracking students’ attendance throughout the school day, you’ll be better prepared for an emergency situation, since all students will be accounted for when exiting or entering school buildings. In addition, consider implementing the use of a school bus tracking device so you will know where all buses, drivers and students are in the instance of an adverse event. Tracking technology can be a dependable prevention and safety tool for districts to implement.
Keep an Eye on Digital Safety
Digital considerations have only recently become an integral part of student safety conversations. Understand - and train your staff on - the difference between (and importance of) privacy and security so you can safeguard against data breaches.
An IT solution that keeps your school and district-wide networks, firewalls and devices secure is invaluable. CIOs and CTOs should regularly maintain district technology infrastructure and monitor to prevent digital break-ins, viruses and other computer bugs