School shootings in the US have been in the news in the past few years. It is only natural to fear for students’ safety when going to school. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development states that safety and security are necessary for teaching and learning; not having such may hamper how students get an education and how teachers perform their duty.
What Defines a Safe and Secure School Environment
A safe and secure school environment involves keeping students and teachers safe from hazards, risks, and threats. Such hazards may occur from natural phenomena such as earthquakes, flooding, and heavy storms.
Threats can come from humans, too; shooting at schools is only one example. Other examples of human threats include riots, bullying, arson, and vandalism. Other examples of threats that may come from humans are alcohol and drug abuse and theft.
As all these threats surround vulnerable students, especially the younger ones, it is imperative to talk about school safety. The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environment defines school safety as promoting an environment that keeps students safe from any form of violence or threat.
To ensure a child’s safety in school is to ensure that this child gets to have the right environment where they can perform to their full potential. Studies reveal that school safety is linked to academic performance. Students exposed to threats are prone to absences and course failure.
To say that a school is a safe environment is to say that a school is free from disruptions, violence, events that may induce fear, and discrimination.
Crimes in US Schools
According to collected reports, 56 school-related deaths happened from July 2017 to June 2018. These deaths were either due to homicide, suicide, or legal intervention. This does not include those crimes that do not result in death.
Though victimization rates decreased from 1992 to 2019, 30 out of 1000 students still fall victim to violence and theft. Eighty percent of public schools mentioned that around one or more crimes happened from 2017-2018. However, not all these incidents are reported to the police.
Students with ages ranging from 12 to 18 reported in 2019 that they do not feel safe when going to their school. All these numbers say that there is still a long way to go when creating safer and more secure schools for students in the US.
How Safety and Security Are Maintained
The National Center for Education Statistics reveals different measures used to ensure safety and security in American schools. The School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS), for instance, ensures that public schools have procedures and practices to promote security and safety. Emergency drills must also be available for students in case of dangerous scenarios. Additionally, the SSOCS demands that the presence of security must be seen and felt in schools.
To prevent unwanted scenarios, schools can understand the way CCTV works and use it to their advantage. They can use these cameras to monitor and track movement in schools, especially in entryways. According to the SSOCS, 95% of public schools controlled school access through locking entrance doors.
Use of Identification
IDs are mainly used to limit access to unauthorized people trying to get inside schools. Additionally, school uniforms are used not just for school pride but also as a form of security. This is the reason why most schools are required to wear uniforms.
Preventing Petty Crimes
Petty crimes are minor incidents such as theft, vandalism, and trespassing. One way to prevent these crimes from happening is by having visible cameras throughout school facilities. This can discourage criminals from conducting petty crimes because they do not want to be identified; for petty criminals, getting caught in the act is simply not worth the risk.
Therefore, the more visible the cameras are, the better. At the same time, investing in high-quality CCTV cameras is great to easily identify those who cause damage and crimes within the school property. These cameras can also greatly assist in police investigations later on.
On college campuses, the most common crime is sexual harassment and assault. Like petty crimes, installing CCTV cameras all around the campus can discourage sex offenders from performing any crime against students. Additionally, bullying is a form of harassment, and it happens across all ages. Cameras around the school remind bullies that someone is watching them.
Hence, we can conclude that proper monitoring can easily discourage crime and violence from happening in most schools. Additionally, schools with the right emergency procedures can guide students to act during unexpected situations and save students from injuries and deaths.