Get Schooled in Security Threats
Every day, a security risk can happen in your school when you’re least expecting it. In today’s world, it’s not a choice, but a necessity that you have a plan to handle these potential risks to ensure the safety of your students and staff, and to avoid a financial crisis that could shut down your school or public entity. To prepare for the unexpected, review your security plans to help you minimize the impact of any potentially threatening situation.
Keeping your building secure from outside criminals or unauthorized personnel is a paramount responsibility and your first line of defense. Assess your facility’s current security features and determine where improvements should be made. Consider the following security risks.
Physical Security of Your Building
Bomb threats, suspicious devices and terrorism are just a few threats to the physical property of your school. Reviewing security issues, including access control and perimeter security, is important. Take the appropriate measures to ensure security:
- Survey locks, fences, exterior lights and other physical security devices to ensure that they are in place where needed and in proper operating condition. Establish a monthly inspection of your security perimeter and key protective features of your facility.
- Establish strict visitor control procedures: mandatory sign-ins, name badges, escorts, etc.
- Keep all doors locked while school is in session, with a staff member monitoring who enters and exits.
- Screen every person before issuing building facility keys and access cards. Keep lists of who has been issued access, and have a procedure for when an employee is terminated without returning them.
- Ensure that security is a large factor in the building plans of new or renovated facilities
33 school-associated violent deaths occurred from July 2009 through June 2010, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). NCES also found that 5.6% of students reported carrying a weapon on school property.
With the growing effects of “bullying” and highly-publicized school violence, such as the shootings at Virginia Tech or even more recently, at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, school violence is a serious risk that can be addressed in the following ways:
- If needed, install metal detectors at entrances to the facility.
- Hire security guards to monitor activity in the school.
- Enforce student conduct and dress code policies.
- Train staff to be observant of the warning signs of potentially violent student behavior.
- Educate students about violence; create an anti-bullying instructional program.
Other Criminal Activity
Be aware of criminal activity that occurs within 1,000 feet of school property. This can include gang activity, selling drugs and physical assaults. Take the appropriate measures to ensure crime prevention:
- Advise staff and volunteers to report any suspicious persons or activity in or around the building.
- Consider Closed Circuit Television which can serve as an excellent crime deterrent and solver.
- Discuss security with your local police department who are often very willing to provide information and support to local schools and child care facilities.
Public entity and education organizations rely on Assurance to protect their interests and minimize risk every day. Assurance delivers comprehensive insurance and loss control services to the toughest risks in the marketplace to ensure the safety of all. Contact a representative to learn about minimizing your risk.
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