An emergency situation in the school setting is the worst nightmare of all parents and administrators alike. Advances in technology have changed the way that we approach almost every aspect of our lives, from how communicate to each other to how we access and store data. Such advances are becoming increasingly valuable in keeping our children safe and secure in the place they spend most of their time: school.
Systems like fire alarms and PA systems have long been a staple of emergency protocols in the typical American school. However, many of these systems and protocols have remained relatively unchanged for decades. Some of these procedures work well and certainly have a place in modern schools (we’re surely not advocating to get rid of fire alarms), but it is important that we do not allow their existence to distract us from the importance of constantly developing new and innovative ways to protect our students in the 21st century.
One of the most noticeable advancements in the field of student safety comes from the improvement of surveillance technology, namely security cameras. This technology has particularly advanced in recent years, and many schools are installing increasingly discreet and powerful systems capable of monitoring student activity to ensure safety. The use of this technology is certainly a “hot button” issue, and has sparked a firestorm of debate over whether the security advantages that this provides are significant enough to justify the violation of privacy its opponents claim they impose. Whether or not you believe that the use of security systems sacrifices personal privacy, it is clear that they will remain a core aspect of modern school security measures for the foreseeable future.
Mobile communication via smartphones is an even more recent technological development that is just beginning to impact the world of school safety. As smartphones have evolved from novel gadgets to an essential component of modern life, they have opened up new avenues to improve student safety. Today, many colleges include emergency notification systems that alert students of situations by sending out a text-message. However, college campuses are not the only place in need of a security boost; schools for the younger generations of students could absolutely benefit from new technology as well.
The use of smartphones in primary schools is a controversial topic, with many educators and parents making the argument that they are a distraction to younger students with the potential to significantly disrupt the learning environment. On the other side of this debate, many have argued that these kinds of technology can actually help engage students with learning material and improve the ways in which many of the aspects of our education system operate. Regardless of where your opinion falls on this issue, the simple truth is that more and more students and teachers continue to use mobile devices every year (according to a recent Pew Research center study, nearly three quarters of teens now have access to smartphones). Rather than focusing entirely on the negative aspects of what they introduce to the learning environment, it is important that we also realize the incredible potential that they have make a positive impact on the lives of modern students. Ensuring student safety is one of the most basic and important roles that schools fill, and embracing the capabilities that modern technology gives us in this realm is a vital step towards creating a safer and better education experience for our children.