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November 5, 2015

5 Steps to Increase School Security

Each time there is an incident such as the tragic shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, security personnel and school administrators are forced to reevaluate the measures they are taking to protect their students.

It is necessary for schools to develop policies and crises procedures to protect against potential tragedies like this. Maintaining an appropriate number of security personnel and evaluating the safety of physical entryways are good first steps, but before you jump the gun on installing metal detectors here are 5 easy steps to ward off threats:

  1. Require ID—This step pre-supposes a sign-in procedure, because the ideal situation is one where visitors, staff, volunteers, vendors, and even students are required to sign in to your school with a valid form of ID. Visitors and vendors should always be easily identifiable as they walk down the school hallways—print a badge on sign-in that includes a photo, the time of sign-in, and the reason this person is in your facility.
  2. Require Background Checks—Chances are, background checks are required for all teachers and staff at your school. Take the next logical step and require background checks on volunteers, vendors, and other frequent visitors.
  3. Keep Track of Your Students—Do you know who is in your school at any given time? Establish a way to account for each and every student, so that in the event of a crisis you can know who is involved and who left early for a doctor’s appointment.
  4. Work with Law Enforcement—Contact your local law enforcement to develop or update safety protocols. This may involve in-depth discussions and training—it might even involve parents. Simply having a plan can increase the response time of law enforcement during a crisis.
  5. Have School Maps—Easy access to building layouts, evacuation plans, and utility shutoff locations can make all the difference in the event of a fire or other crisis. Simple campus maps at the front office may help visitors find their way around your school, so they spend less time wandering the halls.

Have you already taken or are in the process of taking these steps? Leave a comment and tell us about programs initiated at your school to foster a safe and secure environment.


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