School Safety

This is a very heated subject. With the recent shooting in Conneticuit, it is safe to say that leniency on firearms is going to be disbanded. Will this make it easier to take safer precautions in schools? Will this keep the wrong people from going off the deep end while armed? And ultimately, what will it take to keep schools safe and free from the harm that has been recently caused?

School safety measures need an upgrade. (Photo courtesy of stevenbrandist at flickr.com)

I will be taking a look at different ideas or ways that could be considered for better protecting our country’s schools.

  • Armed Teachers? While arming our nation’s teachers may not be the best of ideas, having more than one resource officer (say two or three depending on the size of the school) can increase the security by having someone armed and trained on campus. But the problem with this is that school resource officers are not there all of the time. An idea to pass by this is for school districts to consider hiring at least one full-time resource officer. Check out this article that gives a good view of both sides of the coin regarding arming our teachers.
  • According to an article on zdnet.com, low-tech measures can be taken and improvements can be made to many schools around the nation to afford more security and protection. The article goes on to state that simple security features such as higher-definition security cameras and more defense-based locking mechanisms on classroom doors can have a huge impact on speed of response (in case of an emergency like an armed offender) and protection.
  • School Safety Audits: Right now, according to this article the public school systems of Texas are required to carry out safey audits once every 3 years. This is to help prepare schools in cases of emergencies that are not just limited to fires, severe weather, or bomb threats, but are also of aid in practicing actual procedures in cases of armed shooters on campus. But is checking up on our schools once in every 3 years enough to ensure practice and knowledge of procedures and security measures? Or could we do better and bump it to once every 2 years or even once a year? The safety of our schools should be of utmost importance. It’s hard to believe that the majority of the country’s school districts have not even made minimal improvements.
  • Fencing around schools afford some kind of security, but let’s face it–fences can be climbed. While it’s a little extreme to build heavy-duty chain link fences 12 feet high with razor wire topping it all off, maybe heavy-duty tall fencing should be considered. This can be any kind of fencing, and it can look appealing; it doesn’t have to be an eyesore or make the school look like a prison.
  • Only one point of entry: Most schools that I have experience in and those all around the state of Florida have put into place (since the Jessica Lunsford Act) fencing and boundaries. These enable the school to control who enters and exits the school–as long as there is only one gate giving access to the school. Most schools that I have entered do require the front (and back if applicable) gate be locked at all times. Only walking directly into and through the front office will give a person access inside. More schools should look into this method.
  • Cameras: Okay, so many, many, many schools have security cameras. But these cameras are mostly limited to the front of the school. And these cameras are types that are on the lower end of the budget. I think that all sides of the school should be covered. Plus covered in any central areas of schools such as courtyeards, busloops, playgrounds, etc.

While these points are just a few of my own thoughts, more and more schools are now reexamining their own security measures. In my opinion, our schoos and government should have been thinking about this a long time ago. We should always update our security measures and review and take the time to maintain it.

From technological measures–such as cameras, electronic locking mechanisms, metal detectors–to training and bringing in more secutiry personnel to keeping only one point of entry, can greatly benefit the school’s security and give all staff and student body a peace of mind. Our schools should have been reviewing and taking a closer look at their security procedures all along.

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