The CIO for S.A.F.E. TEAM, Scott Huse, was recently published in Campus Safety magazine. If your school already has or is planning to have a volunteer background check policy, review Scott's article and pass it on to your school leadership. There are many points to consider when devising this type of policy.
School Security -- What’s Your Role as a Teacher, Parent, or Student?
By: Bret Rachlin, Blogger for Wren School Security Blog
Everyone in the school has a role to play in helping create a safer, more secure learning environment. It takes the collaboration of the entire community to root out safety hazards, prevent security breaches and deter unwanted behavior successfully.
School-Wide Safety: Benefits Beyond Safer Hallways
Safe and secure schools benefit from more effective teaching and learning. Students are more focused, parents are more at-ease and staff has a more pleasant work environment. On the contrary, in less secure environments, staff and students may feel distracted and concerned with their personal safety. Parents may also feel ill-at-ease and take an aggressive or frustrated approach to teachers and administrators. Below are some ideas about ways in which different groups in the school community can contribute to the school’s security program.
Often, teachers have closer, more trusted relationships with students than other adults. They also undertake responsibilities both inside and outside of the classroom – from chaperoning, to coaching to sponsoring - that give them more exposure to students’ world. For these reasons, teachers have a unique opportunity to become aware of and take steps to address security problems in schools.
Teachers can notice and address or report students who seem to be ostracized or suddenly withdrawn. This can be a sign that a student is the victim of bullying or in the middle of a problem that could result in violence. Teachers can approach the student to discuss the problem or report the suspicious behavior to the School Resource Officer (SRO) or administration so that the student can receive the counseling and support s/he needs. This is also an important step in identifying the source of problems.
Teachers may also be the first to notice safety and security breaches in and around the school. From propped fire doors, to burned-out light bulbs, to graffiti, fights, or a suspicious individual wandering the halls, teachers are in the thick of things and can address or report these precursors to security problems.
Students have everything to gain from taking a proactive role in securing their schools. In doing so, they create a more secure environment, give themselves the gift of personal safety, and foster a zero-tolerance environment in which problems such as bullying, gang violence, threats and girlfriend-on-boyfriend violence are not tolerated.
The most important thing students can do is not tolerate behavior or acts that endanger others. Students promote a culture of respect and can protect other students and themselves by confronting bullies or not participating or encouraging these acts. Students can also take the initiative by reporting incidences, even anonymously, when they see incidences and activities or hear threats that make them uncomfortable. In this way, they help administrators, SROs, and ultimately, themselves.
While parents may not be on campus each day, they can still go a long way to helping create a secure environment. Perhaps most importantly, parents can talk to their kids and be involved with the school. Parents who are aware of activities that are going on at school can support their kids in dealing with potential problems such as bullying, cyberbullying, or violence. They can also talk to their kids about the consequences associated with dangerous behaviors at school. Whether students are bullying other kids, smoking in the stairwell, sneaking off campus or driving recklessly in school zones, parents can help guide them to understand the importance of complying with safety and security policies of the school.
Parents can also help by being supportive of school administrators and working with them in a cooperative spirit. Whether that means following the visitor check-in policy to the letter or volunteering to chaperone or supervise after-hours school events, additional manpower and support will help the school better secure itself and protect kids.
Many of these activities can be taken with little effort. When everyone adopts a mindset of security, the entire school and community benefit.
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About the Author
Bret Rachlin serves as director of marketing for Wren, providers of physical security solutions that create safe learning environments. Bret is a school safety advocate and active blogger for Wren School Security Blog, a popular resource and forum for principals, board members and security resource officers. Rachlin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Wren, visit www.wrensolutions.com.
K-12 Safety Directors responded to Campus Safety Magazine's survey and here results regarding "Technology". You may not know all about your campus safety planning, but you will want to learn more.
Checkout this blog from Campus Safety Magazine. link
It's the little things that can make a big difference even during a challenging economy. link
Checkout Wren's School Security Blog link They have some excellent insight to the issues facing schools, families, students and staff. No more for us to say about it. Go check it out for yourself.
As with all federal grant competitions, they had many more applicants than they could fund. But that doesn’t mean they can’t help those who didn’t win (or even apply for) grants. The feds have an excellent technical assistance center with innumerable free resources that districts can use to improve their preparedness at http://remstacenter.org/. I urge you to avail yourself of the materials available there.
Stakeholders defined: a person, group or organization with an interest in a project.
Have you defined who the stakeholders are in your community. It is important to know how your idea, program or organzation will impact your community and who you need on your team that will receive value from your efforts. Checkout the Value of S.A.F.E. TEAM stakeholders report.
Many are looking to us to answer questions about school safety and involving families as volunteers. One of the largest groups of individuals asking are members of the National PTA. Since we are members of the PTA and active on their PTA Great Ideas Bank discussion board, we have launched a group to effectively answer questions.
Join us on the Safe School Environment group page.