Myths surrounding ways to keep ourselves safe are as old as time. While well intentioned, these myths often have the adverse effect of spreading misinformation.
Today, school safety is something on everyone’s mind. With a spate of high profile incidents over the past few years, there has been considerable attention in every level of education to create safer schools and improve emergency response. Schools are holding more trainings, hiring more safety consultants, and actively rewriting emergency protocols to cope with a changing security landscape.
It is important that real safety improvements are fostered, and to do that, we need to settle some of the crazy misconceptions we keep hearing. We are setting the record straight on 3 school safety myths we hear often:
1. Good Security Equipment = A Safe School
Of course, schools should invest in security technology to help make their campus’ more secure. In fact, since 2013 nationwide schools safety spending has nearly doubled. While tempting to think that alone is enough, as we have written about previously, well trained teachers are often the most important part of a school’s emergency response.
No matter the technology in place, whether it be silent alarms, security cameras or auto-locking doors, in a crisis, key situations depend on reactions of those in positions of responsibility. This is why most states (including NY, where Ruvna is headquartered) require schools to do fire drills at least once a month.
2. School Violence is Rampant
This is by far the most widely held misconception on our list, yet the data are very clear that this is simply not the case. Since 1994 violence in schools has plummeted (source), both in schools and nationwide. In fact, schools now are safer than almost anytime in American history. This drop in crime is not limited to just schools, with violence in schools mirroring similar trends in America at large which has seen a dramatic decrease in violent crime since the mid-1990s.
3. Fire Drills are the Most Important Type of Drill
Of course, fire drills are important. However, they are not more important than the other types of preparation or drills schools should be doing. Now more than ever, being prepared for any type of crisis should be a priority for American schools. That is why we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of schools doing lockdown/shelter in place drills. While this number has risen (currently around 70%), it should be 100%! Every type of drill is important and should be taken seriously, just like every fire drill.