As a parent, have you ever wondered if your child's school was built with protection in mind?
To raise awareness of school safety and security problems, the National Crime Prevention Council—famous for its mascot McGruff the Crime Dog—established the Be Safe and Sound in School program, which offers tools and suggestions to help make schools safer and more secure for students and staff.
There are several actions schools can take to create a secure environment for children. The National Crime Prevention Council offers the following guidelines:
- Site visitors should be required to sign in or show proper identification.
- Unmonitored doors should be secured from outside at all times to keep unauthorized individuals or items from entering the building.
- Trainees entering and exiting school property should be monitored.
- Receptionists should have a panic switch for emergencies, a security camera with a screen located elsewhere, and a high-security lock on the front door.
- Access to ID badges, workplace keys, and codes must be restricted, with a procedure in place for reporting missing badges and keys.
- All doors must have high-security locks or electronic access controls, especially doors to storage rooms containing personal details or dangerous materials, including outside doors and cellars.
- Motion-sensitive and constant lighting should be used outdoors.
- Dark areas around the building must be lit and shrubs must be trimmed to increase brightness.
- Stairwells and long hallways should be well illuminated.
- All doors should be strong. Sheet steel should cover both sides of the back and cellar doors.
- Door frames and joints must be solid and extremely difficult to tear open.
The National Crime Prevention Council suggests that parents speak with their children’s principal and work with the school's PTA to motivate the school to take these actions. If they are still worried, they can partner with other parents to urge their local school board to make school protection a top priority. CWP