Supervising an institution is a prestigious position that comes with great responsibility. One of these responsibilities is keeping the students at your school safe. The days of school shootings, bullying, and other threats aren’t behind us, so it’s important to know how to improve public safety in K-12 and higher education. Here are five ideas for better security.
Once you know there’s a problem, you can do something about it. That’s why communication is key when it comes to preventing harassment and violence. Create a culture at your school or on campus where students feel comfortable coming forward with information. You can do this by making deans and presidents available to the student body. Ensure people in power reach out and interact with staff and students on a regular basis to build better relationships.
Not all schools require the same level of security. Still, it’s important to monitor the interior and exterior of buildings so that you can catch potential intruders, misbehavior, or other emergencies as they happen. Hire security guards to keep an eye on cameras and stand at entrances. To ensure radios don’t skip or freeze, strengthen your network signal with a distributed antenna system design. Improve wireless network connections before an emergency.
If your campus doesn’t have a security officer, make sure you coordinate with local law enforcement to explain the ins and outs of your property to them. If they need to come to your building, it’s better that they know the layout. Allow law enforcement to regularly visit your school for training. Further, clearly label classrooms, hallways, buildings, and parking lots so officers can communicate effectively.
If you hire security officers to enforce rules in your school, train them to work with students rather than against them. It’s important to build trust with students for many reasons. They may be more likely to listen to you. Further, they may come to you when they are in trouble.
Pro Tip: Part of school-based law enforcement can include monitoring social media accounts. Check for suspicious activity that may target your campus.
If you do receive treats, have a plan for how your school will manage the situation. You should investigate each tip you receive and assess the severity of the situation. Once you identify who or what is causing the issue, you can figure out how to handle it. Each problem may call for a different solution. Be prepared to offer mental health resources or refer students to professionals who may better serve them.
Figuring out how to improve public safety in K-12 and higher education is important for students and staff. You can manage potential hazards when you prepare ahead of time with the right security features in place. Build trust with your students and monitor your property to keep everyone safe.