Schools can be chaotic places. Depending on whether it’s an elementary, middle, or high school, emotions, behaviors, and hormones might be out of control. This can, and often does, create moments of tension—and possibly even danger. Fortunately, there are some methods teachers can use to improve school safety to protect students and themselves from harm.
Clear communication is one of the simplest ways to improve student safety. Teachers and other staff must communicate with each other for the most accurate, current data around students’ whereabouts and activities. This communication is not limited to the school, either. Keep parents and the community informed on big events. That way, everyone will know where to go in case of disaster. Implement a school-wide emergency notification system to alert staff, students, and parents of suspected danger. Also, don’t forget to practice fire, tornado, and safety drills on a routine basis.
Monitor Non-School Day Activity
There’s something strangely attractive about an empty school to a bunch of mischievous students on a weekend or non-school day. There have been plenty of reports when students access the roof of their school during off hours. Some students have even been seriously injured in falls from roofs during off hours. Monitoring property during non-school days maximizes safety and accountability. Field trips, sports events, and teacher conferences are also opportunities for unexpected incidents to occur. Be cautious and have a plan that covers each of these events with procedures and practices for any and all possibilities.
Technology is a great way for teachers to improve school safety and security. Implementing a two-way radio network, for example, can provide optimal feedback for teachers, administrative staff, and bus drivers. Two-way radios are beneficial because two-way radio communications can provide multi-point awareness even among individuals that aren’t part of the conversation. For example, while hearing two staff members who are communicating on a two-way radio, a third staff member who is listening might have valuable information that the other two don’t have; and then chime in, and transmit that information to the other two staff members. Two-way radios can also be helpful on field trips.
On school property, cameras and other surveillance technology can deter mischief, and can also help catch thieves or vandals at a fast pace, or after subsequent review of recorded video. Even smartphone or tablet database tracking systems streamline real-time data entry. Needless to say, integrating technology in schools ensures safety and security for everyone involved.
Help Students Feel Safe
Lastly, do your part in making students feel safe on and off the campus. Provide resources students can use if they feel in danger. Counseling, anti-bullying programs, after-school care, teacher mentorship, or safety assemblies all communicate a clear message of on and off-campus safety for students. Depending on the age group, you can cover a variety of topics from drugs, smoking, drinking, bullying, abuse, and so on. Teachers should also lend a helping hand or ear to their students. Never neglect a student in danger. It’s more meaningful to a student to have a teacher who cares, rather than one who doesn’t.
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