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5 School Safety Oversights to Avoid

Carolyn Vento
April 7, 2022
It is in everyone’s best interest to have a good school safety plan in place. If an emergency actually occurs, there is little room for error when people’s lives depend upon it. Oversights still occur more frequently than they should. These unintentional errors can be avoided with proper attention to detail. One way to limit the oversights is for districts to hold regular site assessments that include a physical assessment of the building and an assessment of the school’s operations and security policies. School leaders should always be prepared by doing things such as making sure that the proper signage is up and unblocked, keys are in the right hands, and there is a realistic plan in place that everyone understands.
 
Let’s look into 5 school safety oversights to avoid:
 
  1. Blocking signs/Faulty Equipment
    When an emergency happens, people need to easily read signs. Make sure there is nothing blocking the signs, such as storage bins or shelves. Emergency shut-off switches should be clearly marked. Cages can even be put around signs that have lights in them such as exit signs, to avoid any tampering. Equipment must be checked on a regular basis. If the fire alarm doesn’t work, for example, it will be useless during an emergency.

  2. Complacency
    Even the most regular school day is still chaotic, as there are countless duties for school staff to perform. Staff members must make safety a top priority. They must wear their IDs, if required. They should lock their classroom doors when not in use, and keep the keys in a secure place at all times. Doors should never be propped for other staff members or even students, and if alarms can be used on the doors, it is a safer situation. All visitors should be accounted for and checked in, even if they are well known, for the safety of the students, staff, and the visitor as well. A simple act like not wearing an ID may seem harmless, but constant complacency will eventually lead to dangerous situations.

  3. Building Access/Security Issues
    Besides having visitors sign in, all schools should have someone stationed at the front door as a first layer of protection. A common person to have is a school resource officer that is specially trained to protect and serve schools. Schools can avoid security issues by policies such as not allowing upperclassmen to leave campus for lunch, or by having a detailed visitor management system in place for anyone coming and going. Random, frequent security checks of alternate entry points by staff to ensure they are secure are also beneficial.

  4. Poor Planning
    Sometimes an emergency response fails simply because there was no real safety plan in place. It is a school’s responsibility to provide a plan to its staff and students and to check that everyone is familiar with it.

    Potential threats and hazards can be avoided through the creation of an emergency operations plan which should account for preventing emergencies, but also how to respond to and recover from them. Regular reviews of emergency plans help with familiarity and identifying new or changing conditions.

  5. Lack of Community
    Collaboration is critical to maintaining school safety. Without working together as a community, we cannot offer our children the best chances for success. Students who have access to mental health professionals, social workers, and law enforcement learn to trust these adults more and to get the help they need. Parents who are involved also act as links between the schools and the larger community. When their voices are heard, more action is taken to make not only schools, but the whole community safer.
While no plan is perfect, oversights can be avoided when everyone works together to constantly assess the physical aspects of safety such as equipment as well as the operations and policies. You can join our webinar, “Power and Ease for School Safety: Why Choose?” on April 12, 2022 at 12 PM CST to learn how you can provide the highest level of protection to your organization and avoid common safety oversights with the brand new version of our emergency communications platform, Safety iResponse. It connects people with innovative technology to ensure that everyone has the layers of protection that they need to be safe, no matter what situation occurs.

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