School safety. A very highly talked about subject. Unfortunately, it's often not a very positive topic of conversation. I’m sure we have all heard the tragedies happening at schools as of late and would like to see additional safety precautions added in the school systems. On that note, I want to stop and say this is not going to be a negative or a sad blog about everything that is happening in our society. I want to make it a positive and educational blog about learning different ways to make schools a safer environment for students and staff. I truly believe there are so many different things we can implement in schools internally as well as a few affordable options that people might not know about that can make a huge difference. Again, my intention with this blog is to educate and hopefully show some different ways to improve school safety, so let’s get started!
Like I just mentioned, I think there are a lot of things that can be done internally in schools for increased school safety. With that being said, first and foremost, come up with an emergency action plan. Be prepared. You’d be surprised how many schools aren’t. Having a plan and knowing what to do is crucial. Have a set time where you sit down with the administrators and school security and figure out an emergency action plan that works best for your school. Having an emergency action plan is a completely internal strategy that doesn’t cost you a penny. On this note, it is important to address that school safety plans need to be updated frequently so potential intruders don’t catch on to your plan.
Once you have an emergency action plan set, train, train, train! Come up with an informative and engaging way to train the school on the emergency action plan. Don’t only train teachers, train your students and parents as well. Everyone should know what is going on and should be on the same page. An easy way to train everyone is to hold an all school assembly. Invite parents and take some time to really go over your plan and ensure everyone is comfortable with it.
Once everyone has been fully trained and is comfortable with the emergency action plan, put it to the test. Practice the emergency action plan and lock-down drills during school hours. You will be able to easily see areas that work great and areas that need improvement. Practicing lock-down drills allow you to perfect your emergency action plan in case you ever need it in a real emergency. If something doesn’t go as planned, tweak it and make sure everyone is aware of the change to the plan.
Encourage reporting. There is a stigma surrounding school safety and reporting, and there shouldn’t be. Students often feel like they shouldn’t say anything and they should keep to themselves. Encourage your students to talk to a teacher if they see something suspicious or out of the ordinary. Let them know there are no consequences and there is nothing wrong with reporting something they don't feel is right. To help with encouraging reporting, an easy thing you can do is hold monthly assemblies with your students. Educate them on things to look out for when it comes to school safety and exactly what to do if they do see something out of the ordinary. This will help encourage reporting and make your students feel confident if the situation does arise.
Up until this point we have talked about internal strategies you can implement at schools to help improve school safety. While there are many more internal strategies, which we will get to later, there are also some other things you can do. Most people know the obvious things like making sure doors are always locked. There are also other things schools can implement for affordable prices that might not be as obvious as keeping doors locked. Security window film is one of these things. We are a window film company...you had to know this was coming at some point. But in all seriousness, window security film is a very easy and cost effective way to increase security in a school setting.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with security window film, it is a protective layer of window film that is installed straight onto glass surfaces. It comes in different thicknesses and the thicker the security film is, the harder it is to get through. When it comes to security window film it's very important to note that it’s not going to stop someone from getting through. It will however prolong forced entry time and take the intruder a lot longer to get through. This will allow more time for help to get there and intervene before the intruder is able to get through the glass. Security film also holds the glass together in case someone or something hits it. This increases safety for students and staff not only in the case of an intruder, but also natural disasters.
Security window film also comes in different tint shades if you are interested in something other than the standard clear window security film. Clear security window film allows full visibility both in and out of the glass. The aesthetics of the space aren’t going to change and the look of your school is going to be the same. You can also choose a reflective security window film or a neutral security window film. These two options are going to change the look of the building, but will also significantly reduce heat and glare throughout the school. Like I said earlier, security window film is a very affordable way to increase security in your school and it requires little to no work on your part. Call up Solar Art and get the security film installed with little to no work on your end!
Limiting entry ways is another way to improve school safety. You might be thinking the school is already built and the entryways are already there, so how can this be changed? While it's true the entryways are already there, there is still something you can do about it. You can lock certain entryways and only make a few accessible for people to come in and out of. This will make it easier for administration to keep track of who is coming in and out of the school and doesn't require any construction.
Monitoring visitors goes hand in hand with limiting entryways. Know who is coming in and out of your school. Don’t allow in strangers who have no real purpose of being there. Having a visitor check in system in the entry of the school is an easy way to monitor your visitors. Make it so all visitors, including parents have to check in with an administrator before entering the school. The check in process should include knowing the visitor’s name and confirming why they are on the premises and how long they will be there. If there is no reason they are there or they can’t prove who they are, don’t let them in the school. Having a check out process is just as important, if not more important than the check in process. Make it so visitors have to check out with the same administrator. This is so important because you don’t want visitors lingering on campus for long periods of time. Being able to keep track of when your visitors come and go is crucial for improving school safety.
Having organized arrival and dismissal is so important in improving school safety. While you can limit entryways and monitor visitors, drop off and pick up can be a little more difficult to manage. It's two points throughout the day that are high trafficked and have a ton of people coming in and out, and there is a lot going on. It can be hectic and if unorganized, can be unsafe. Seeing as there is a lot of commotion it's easy for someone to slip into the school when they shouldn’t be there. Being organized during the arrival and dismissal of the students is so important. All teachers should be assigned a specific role during these two times of the day. There should be teachers assigned to handle the cars coming in and out. There should be teachers assigned to watching over the students who are not only involved in the carpool but also those who are in after school daycare etc. All students should be accounted for at all times. Having roles assigned to everyone will help with knowing who is on the school grounds and who isn’t, which will ultimately increase school safety.
So there you have it. A bunch of very different ways to improve school safety on a budget. Most of what we discussed in this blog are internal strategies that won’t cost you any money at all but can really increase safety for not only students, but staff as well. Like I said in the beginning of the blog, school safety has a very negative connotation surrounding it, especially right now. I wrote this blog to make it a topic of conversation and educate on some ways we can easily increase safety in schools, so I hope you learned something and found it helpful because awareness is the first step. Being as we are a window film company, we install security window film everyday. If you are interested in getting window security film installed to your school, contact Solar Art today for a free consultation!
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