School Safety

With an increase in accidents and harassment, safety in schools is of paramount importance and has become a concern in today’s world. The increasing number of assaults and accidents has become a constant concern for parents.

A safe and secure environment in school is the way to an effective teaching and learning environment. Apart from providing education, the school should take it upon itself to provide its students and teachers with a safe environment. 

What is school safety?

School safety relates to the provision of a safe environment in schools where steps are taken to protect students from abuse, harassment, aggression and drug use. There are certain measures that have been taken to protect teachers from harassment or assault. School safety can also mean safety in the event of a disaster.

What is the importance of school safety?

A safe learning environment is crucial for students of all ages. Without it, they will not be able to focus on learning the skills needed for successful education and the future. If violence is part of the education climate, all students are somehow affected. Although your child may not be the actual victim of violence at school, he or she is highly likely to witness violent acts during the years of education.

Studies continues to show that children who feel unsafe at school are doing School safety is important because students, teachers, administrators and parents will focus on developing and sustaining an ideal learning environment when everyone feels safe. As of 2014, the problem of school safety and the amount of energy received by school districts is higher than it used to be due to increased instances of school violence and shooting compared to previous decades.

Preventing dangerous people from entering a school building and promoting a physically safe environment helps put students at ease. Schools are struggling to get children to want to learn and focus on education without any safety concerns. Physical safety issues can confuse students, trigger emotional distress and take up mental energy.

Each child should feel safe from violence in their school, but there are many that do not. Attacking other students, professors, security guards and school employees violently is not unusual today, demonstrating an absolute lack of respect for authority. These attacks lead to injuries and death at times. Faced with these actions, other students and staff can be profoundly scared and nervous and make the school environment a psychologically distressing location.

1.Safety enables learning
A child will be able to concentrate on learning only when he/she feels secured in the learning environment. Hence, it is important to ensure the provision of a secured environment.

2.Protection of student and staff
School safety is vital to protect the student and staff in a school from abuse or any other sort of violence.

3.Overall development of the child
A safe learning setting ensures an overall development of a child. Children who are taught in a secured environment are less likely to engage in risky attitude.

4.Healthy environment
School safety is vital to foster a healthy environment in the school

5.Building trust of the parents
School safety is crucial to build and retain the trust of the parents. A safe environment will not just increase the trust of the guardians/parents, but also the goodwill of the school.

School safety is necessary to promote the academic success of each child in a healthy and nurturing environment, giving them the opportunity to learn and accomplish this. Strict school safety measures encourage increased learning, feelings of cohesion, higher pro-social behavior and reduced crime.

How can we improve school safety?

1. Limit entryways to school environment. Clearly mark the school’s main entrance and post signs on other entries that guide visitors to the main entrance. Secure access doors outside. Doors outside. Regularly check to ensure that the doors have not been locked or opened. Regular inspections should also include windows

2. Monitor the school parking lot. If necessary, have a parking lot monitor to oversee people entering and leaving the campus.

3. Monitor and supervise student common areas such as hallways, cafeterias, and playgrounds. If possible, add video surveillance in these areas to record anything a monitoring person may miss.

4. Promote school-community partnerships to improve safety measures for students beyond school property (police surveillance, Neighborhood Watch programs). There are willing community organizations that can help.

5. Consider the presence of school resource officers, local police, and/or security guards.

6. Monitor school visitors. Require that visitors report to the main office, sign in, and wear visitor badges. All staff should be trained to report strangers not wearing a visitor badge to the school office.

7. Provide threat-assessment and risk-assessment procedures and teams for conducting them.

8. Develop/update your school’s crisis plan and preparedness training. School emergency plans should include preparedness procedures such as lock downs, evacuations, parent-student reunification procedures, and emergency communications protocols.

These should be shared with parents and the media. Building-level teams should regularly review plans, hold simulation drills, and train staff in how to respond to students’ questions.

9. Create a safe, supportive school climate that provides school-wide behavioral expectations, caring school climate programs, positive interventions and supports, psychological and counseling services, and violence prevention programs.

10. Encourage students to take responsibility for their part in maintaining safe school environments. Reward students who take the initiative to help keep schools safe.

11. Provide students with access to anonymous reporting systems (student hot lines, “suggestion” boxes, “tell an adult” campaigns). Young people sometimes have a difficult time speaking up if they see or hear something that may compromise school security. Allow them the means to communicate without the embarrassment of being labeled a “tattle tale”.

12. Institute strict procedures for key control. Assign the responsibility for locking and unlocking the school to as few individuals as possible. Number the keys in existence and document who has which school keys.

13. Keep unoccupied rooms and spaces locked when not in use.

14. Ensure that all classrooms, including portable and temporary classrooms, have two-way communication with the office.

Administrators can reinforce the vitality to school safety by creating a caring school community in which adults and students respect and trust each other and all students feel connected and expectations, and receive any behavioral and mental health support they need.

Why is safety and Security important in today’s schools?

When we think of crime and violence in our schools, many think of the terrible acts of violence that have been flooding the media in recent years. Naturally, we think Columbine High School. We think of Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook. We think of all the children and families who were hurt by these horrific acts. We think of our children and youth and the ways in which we can protect them.

There is an undeniable, increasing prevalence of emergency situations in schools. There is also an increasing severity of school violence. Since Columbine occurred in 1999, there have been over 275 school shootings. The aforementioned incidences are perhaps the most alarming and worst cases of violence in the U.S. school system to date. But we must not let them overshadow the everyday reality that violent, hurtful acts are still happening regularly within the school system. These include:

  • Fighting and assault
  • Bullying
  • Victimization
  • Sexual attacks
  • Theft or robbery
  • Classroom disorder
  • Use of weapons
  • Violent crime

About 25 percent of teenagers are exposed to hate-related graffiti within school grounds. And during the school year, nearly one out of every four students report being bullied – physically, emotionally, verbally, even online. Yet the majority of youth bullied in our school systems do not report it at all. Many stay silent. Many need trusted adults – parents, educators, officers – to confide in and to help.

Children and youth need help. They need someone to turn to, someone who has the experience and training to handle a potentially dangerous situation properly. You can be that person. With the right combination of determination, strength, training, and a desire to do what’s right, you can help better safety and security in schools.

School safety and security is largely about prevention and planning ahead, meaning that school safety professionals should plan ahead, too. With school security and safety, you can pave the way to a safer, healthier learning environment for children and youth in schools.

What are the school five safety rules?

Back-to-school doesn’t have to mean back-to-worrying. These safetry rules were recommended by the National Association of Elementary School Principals:

  1. Learn the school’s emergency procedures.
    Emergency plans and phone numbers are usually included in school handbooks and posted in classrooms. Taking a few extra minutes to familiarize yourself and your child with emergency information can give him the confidence he needs to act quickly in emergency situations.  
  2. Know travel routes to and from the school. 
    Make sure you and your child know both primary and alternate routes. In an emergency, roads can be blocked and it’s important to have a backup plan.
  3. Know and follow school security and safety measures. 
    These might include signing in when visiting the school, being escorted when walking through the building, or wearing a visitor pass. Following these procedures also sets a great example for your kids.
  4. Talk with your child about safety. 
    Be specific. Talk about instinct and paying attention to funny feelings of fear. Explain what to do if she doesn’t feel safe (find a teacher, call 911, etc.). Make sure she knows how to contact you or a trusted neighbor who is likely to be at home.
  5. Inform school staff about health and emotional concerns. 
    Whether your child has a food allergy, a physical disability, or has been subject to bullying, make sure to keep your child’s teachers and principal in the loop.

What are school general safety rules?

General Safety rules are essential in every school and should be implemented. Safety used to be considered as the responsibility of organisations engaged in ‘hazardous’ activities like road transportation, oil exploration, extraction and mining, and construction. But it has expanded to us having the expression “safety is the responsibility of all”.

We live in an age where there are increasing cases of safety and security threats to our schools. Reports of robbery, kidnapping, rape, sexual harassment, fire incidences, diseases and building collapses bring the issue to the front burner.

Below are the general safety rules for students:

1.  Walk, do not run in the hall or stairways
Members of the school community should endeavor to walk rather than run while using the stairways, corridors and classrooms. Whatever you are rushing for should not cause you or others some injury. In the process of running, you may fall, collide with someone else or get yourself or someone else injured.

2.  Don’t push people while walking
There may be this tendency to push or shove aside someone walking slowly before you. Be careful not to do so. The other person may lose balance when you push them and get injured. Such an act may even lead to a fight between you two. If you have to move slowly, be careful not to impede other people’s movement when doing so.

3. Keep to the right in corridors and on stairways
Students and staff should be encouraged to preferably keep to the right while walking on the corridors or stairways within the school building structure. By walking on the right, the individual is able avoid possible head on collision with others coming from the opposite direction.

4. Use each step going up and down stairs
The stairways shouldn’t be turned into playing grounds where people jump. A student fond of jumping the stairs should be warned against such in order to prevent accidents. They may possibly slip in the process and have some accident.

5.  Be ready to grab the handrail if you slip
In the event that one slips on the stairs, the person should be walking close to the handrail to be able to maintain balance and prevent the possibility of slipping. This also means that the handrail is an essential part of the staircase and walkway that the school management must ensure is safe for use.

6.  Keep classroom aisles clear
Movement within the classroom or cloakroom shouldn’t be hindered at any time. So, every material that could be injurious to the next person should not be found there. Seat should be orderly arranged. Keep clothing materials, lab equipment, umbrellas and other things out of the way.

7.   Don’t keep your feet along aisles
While sitting in the classroom, you shouldn’t keep your feet along the aisles at any time. Students should be taught that as they unconsciously keep their feet along the aisles, someone may just slip and get injured. This should equally apply to passage rows and entrances.

8.  Put away materials not in use
Once you are not using some materials in any part of the school environment, keep them away. For the safety of all, every item not in use and not kept where it should be could be injurious to the owner or others. If you have a school laboratory where certain liquid and gas are in use or a farm where students use cutlasses and hoe, keep such things away from where they are likely to be injurious to others when not in use.

9.  Don’t use equipment without authorization
Every student should be warned against using equipment without authorization. It should only with the permission of the teacher or instructor that experiments with chemicals in the laboratory are carried out by students. You should only use the equipment if you have the competence about its usage. 

10. Don’t go to unauthorized places
Certain locations within the school may be meant for authorized personnel only. Perhaps, there is an alternative electricity facility or heavy equipment vault within the school premises. No student or teacher should be found in such places.

11. Protect objects used
There would be times when you need to use certain objects in school. Use them with care. Carry pens, pencils and other sharp objects down and be protected. Moving around with a sharp object could be injurious where care is not taken.

12. Wear safety equipment
The use of safety equipment is necessary for the user’s safety. Appropriateness of safety equipment is depending on what the individual is doing and where it is. In the laboratory, for example, students and teachers would need protective clothing, helmets, goggles or other garments dedicated to protect persons from injury or infection.

13. Report damaged equipment to the authority
Encourage students and staff members to conscious of reporting cases of damaged equipment. Broken seats, desks and other damaged equipment could be injurious to people. So, they should be taken away for repairs when they are damaged.

14. Use the emergency exits
Students and staff members should be prepared in case of emergencies. The school manager should ensure that there is provision for emergency exit and fire escapes within the school structure. Possibly, narrow paths should be widened to ensure easier passage for all. The designated emergency exit points should be clearly marked too. A few moments of drills on using this would make students and staff members prepared in case of emergency.

15. Abide by school rules of proper conduct
Every school manager would have a set of rules of proper conduct designed. At times, some safety threats may emanate from the conduct of students or teachers towards one another. An expensive joke may be too expensive to wish away.

This may lead to fight among different parties and threaten people’s safety. Disciplining fighting parties based on the school rules and regulations would definitely serve as a deterrent to others. Thus, no room should be given to rule breakers. Their disregard for rules may put other members of the school community in danger.

Why do we need safety rules?

Establishing safety rules within the organization is one of the most fundamental steps a company can take when developing a safety program. Safety rules set expectations for all workers, from the owner to the next employee hired. Without documented safety rules, it becomes impossible to consistently enforce company directives and ensure every employee is treated fairly.

We need safety rules in order to create a friendly environment for students to learn and practice their skills. But what happens when a student doesn’t feel safe? The wish to attend classes disappears, a child feels unwelcome and discouraged, new fears are rooted in the subconscious leading to anxiety, depression, etc. We must understand that the safety schools have can help children both physically and mentally.

What are the requirements for school safety?

Safe practices help to ensure the welfare of students and teachers and can help prevent damage to equipment and facilities. Teachers model and discuss safety procedures and regulations. While each fine arts discipline has unique hazards, there are some precautions that all fine arts educators can take to maintain a safe environment.

The following recommendations for fine arts teachers encompass ways to keep the classroom free of accidents and injuries:

  • Establish safety procedures and make sure that students understand and observe them.
  • Use school-established emergency procedures, such as evacuation plans for classrooms and other school environments, and make it clear to students what to do in case of an emergency.
  • Inspect materials, equipment, and facilities regularly and discontinue the use of defective or unsafe equipment.
  • Use posters and billeting boards to emphasize potential dangers and safety procedures.
  • Supervise students who are using equipment that can be hazardous.
  • Demonstrate and model safe behavior.
  • Have access to a telephone during and outside of school hours. Post legible, accurate emergency numbers and procedures.

Administrators also have responsibilities in ensuring student safety. The following recommendations for school administrators include ways to support a safe fine arts classroom environment:

  • Schedule regular inspection and maintenance of equipment and facilities.
  • Encourage and enable teachers to participate in safety professional, including college and university training and activities of professional organizations.
  • Provide teachers with current information on accident liability and insurance.
  • Install a direct outside telephone line, and post a list of emergency numbers.
  • Ensure that access to exits are unobstructed at all times.
  • Ensure that students know safety guidelines.
  • Maintain fully stocked first-aid kits and working fire extinguishers.

What is safety education?

Safety education is the teaching of specific knowledge, skills and understanding that children need in order to stay safe in a given situation. Generally, schools themselves are safe places for children of all ages, so the focus of safety and risk education is to prepare children and young people for the world outside of school, now and in the future. CWP

Child Abduction (Community Watch Paper blog)

Featured school safety videos



Sources
https://archive.org/details/violenceinameric0000thom/page/159
https://www.stopbullying.gov/prevention/how-to-prevent-bullying
https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2015/2015051.pdf
https://abcnews.go.com/US/california-high-school-student-custody-threatening-columbine-style/story?id=46293206
https://www.cops.usdoj.gov/default.asp?item=106

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