The next time you head onto your school campus, take a look at the site through a different lens.
Instead of looking at your school from your eyes as a school employee or as a parent, look as if you are a school safety consultant:
- Campus perimeter: Is there a defined perimeter distinguishing school property from neighboring grounds? Good signage?
- Parking lots: Are there designated parking areas for staff, visitors, students (high schools), etc.? Is there adequate lighting for staff who arrive very early, such as food services personnel, or those who will be there later in the evening?
- Entranceways: Is the visitor entrance clearly identifiable? Are visitor directions posted? Are doors numbered inside and out for easy reference during routine and emergency visitations?
- Inside the school: Are you greeted promptly? Is there a visitor sign-in procedure? What indicators of the school climate do you see?
- Student perspectives: Do students feel safe at school? Where in the building do they feel less safe and more safe? Do they have a trusting adult to whom they can report safety concerns?
- Paper versus practice: Does day-to-day practice reflect written school board policies, administrative procedures, crisis plans, and other documents? Or are there gaps in paper versus practice which could increase school safety risks and potential liability?
Too often, we become lax in our approach to school security. Adults follow the same routines each day and miss red flags pointing to security gaps. This leads to complacency.
The next time you head onto campus, play the role of school security consultant instead of teacher, support staff member, administrator, and/or parent. You might be surprised what you see.
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Work with Ken to better prevent and prepare for a crisis at your school: http://www.schoolsecurity.org