“The best defense is a good offense.” Though this saying is typically used in sports scenarios, it rings especially true when it comes to school safety. The more emphasis you put on securing school grounds, the better off you’ll be at minimizing risk.
Experts suggest that you can enhance your school’s physical safety with the following strategies:
Supervise access to the building and grounds. Request that all visitors check in at the office and that they be escorted on campus. Visitors should not have unsupervised access to children.
Adjust scheduling. Minimize the amount of time in hallways where students have unsupervised activities.
Conduct a building safety audit. Work with school security or local law enforcement experts to identify areas of campus that present security concerns.
Close school campuses during lunch periods. People with criminal intent use the access to school grounds to conduct illegal and dangerous activities. Lunch time is a prime opportunity for others to access campus and for students to return to campus with contraband. Securing the campus reduces these risks.
Adopt a school policy on uniforms. Studies show that standardizing school dress codes minimizes comparisons between students. This can help in curtailing bullying.
Prohibit students from areas where they are likely to engage in rule-breaking. Students should not have access to cafeteria delivery areas, auditoriums, gymnasiums and other areas when not supervised.
Welcome an adult presence. Encourage parents to visit the school when appropriate. Groups of adults on campus provide a visible deterrence to crime.
Stagger dismissal times and lunch periods. Minimize the number of students in the hallway at any one time. Staggering times by grade level helps to minimize the risks of bullying, especially when elementary and high school students may be on the same campus.
Maintain school grounds. “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design” is the technique of minimizing risks by laying out buildings and landscaping in ways that provide maximum visibility and deterrence. This can include trimming bushes, increasing lighting and directing traffic through supervised areas.
For more information on how you can help keep students safe, watch our webinar “Protect Your School and Campus Communities.”