Schools administrators across the country are facing challenges as they continue to figure out how to make schools a safer place for children. Attacks of all kinds are on the rise at school campuses, and students and their parents want to see schools take the right measures to protect those at school.
In order for school administrators to understand how to make their districts safer, they need to understand what to prepare for and how to respond to emergency situations. Here are five trends that administrators should be aware of that are changing school safety.
1. Schools are Rethinking Procedures
With an increase in the number of attacks and violence occurring on campuses, many schools are starting to review their safety procedures and look at how they can make the necessary security changes. There are many situations that have been frightening for students on school campuses, and safety procedures in the future must stop these scary scenes. Many schools are now requiring external school security assessments for the safety of the students and staff.
Many public and private schools conducted these external security assessments within two years of the Sandy Hook Elementary School attack. The Maine Department of Education revealed that more than 70 percent of their schools conducted security assessments during that period, and many more will continue to do the same as we see more attacks. Attack methods such as vehicle ramming, weapon assaults, acid splashing attacks, and other forms of attacks have made external school security assessments seem logical.
2. It’s More Than Just Locking Doors
Locking the doors and hiding is a safe measure for students and staff to participate in, but what if administrators could keep up with which students are safe in real time? Many school district are adopting new technology that alerts staff and administrators with information such as which students are safe during a crisis. During an emergency situation, this technology enables seamless communications throughout the entire school. This cutting-edge technology allows schools to access data of the students while the doors remain locked.
Teachers can quickly check-in their students through a mobile app to let everyone know they are safe. School administrators are allowed to follow along live to this information. They will receive real-time alerts on which students are safe and which ones may need help. This mobile app technology allows administrators to account for their entire student body during any attack while communicating vital information with other staff. Administrators will want to invest in this latest technology to understand information in seconds what currently requires hours.
3. School Safety Legislation Is Now a Nationwide Issue
Many lawmakers from around the United States have vowed to act after the recent attacks on schools. Hundreds of new bills related to school safety were introduced over the past ten years. These bills have included proposed situations such as arming current teachers and school staff, adding metal detectors throughout schools, and adding more security guards and resource officers on campus. Some of the bills have also been about school emergency planning, building safety upgrades, and gun control.
Not all legislation has passed, but this shows that school safety legislation is an important issue being discussed on a national level. All 50 states have introduced bills regarding school safety with the most popular category being about school emergency planning. New bills will continue to be introduced over the next few years, and new laws will be passed to make schools a safer place.
4. Cameras Are Now Located at Many Schools
Security cameras have been installed at many schools across the country for extra security. According to a Campus Safety magazine survey, about 96 percent of security cameras installed at schools, universities, and hospitals frequently or sometimes provide evidence for investigations. Most of those surveyed said that security cameras prevented crime and helped staff better monitor the campus. There is no denying that security cameras are a valuable tool for school safety.
Cameras with a good image quality and system reliability provide added security for schools and are worth the cost. The security cameras not only help in major attacks against the school, but also help with other small crimes around campus. Security cameras allow schools to carefully monitor their on-site visitors and prevent incidents from occurring in the parking lot. Cyber-bullying, smoking, falls, and wild animals can also be caught on camera to help the school take action and move forward in a positive way.
5. Hate Crimes Increase as Bullying Decreases
Many kids over the past years have experienced bullying at school, but reports show that there is a decrease in the number of bullying accidents. Even though we are seeing a decrease in bullying, there has been an increase in hate crimes. In 2014, there were 804 reported hate crimes on college campuses in America. In 2016, about 18 percent of all hate crimes in Massachusetts occurred on a school campus, which is up from about 12 percent the previous year.
Students who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual report a higher number of bullying than heterosexual students. Not only are hate crimes towards gender on the rise, but hate crimes toward races and religions are also seeing a higher number of incidents. The Anti-Defamation League in Massachusetts counted about 90 anti-Semitic incidents in 2017. The group also claims that anti-Semitic acts nearly doubled at elementary and secondary schools in America. According to FBI data, minors 18 years or younger were the offenders in 832 reported hate crimes in 2017, which is a 27 percent increase from the previous year.
With an increase in school attacks, administrators and campuses need to prepare for all possible situations and be able to respond accordingly. It can be a challenge for schools to keep up with the changing scene each year, but staying up-to-date on school safety is necessary and potentially saves the lives of students and staff.
Ruvna is helping school administrators create the safest campus possible. We provide technology that allows administrators to communicate with staff during a crisis in real time. Helping administrators respond faster during the event of a crisis is our main goal. If you would like to learn more about how to create a safer atmosphere in your school district, please contact us today!