How can schools ensure safety and security in schools? Safety and security are very crucial for schools. It is not only important for the students but also for the teachers, parents, and other members of the school.
It is the responsibility of schools to ensure that students are provided with a safe and welcoming environment. Such an environment can be created by building trust, creating awareness, and following defined processes to manage various scenarios. These can be supported by technology.
The students as well as the staff should be aware and sensitive to the behavior expected of them. School safety and security policies are as important as the education that is being imparted to the students. Where necessary counseling services should be accessible to support the mental health of everyone in the school.
CBSE has also issued several circulars on safety and security at schools. It has laid down briefs on structural safety, safety management, safety from constructional hazards, safety measures during natural disasters, and how to ensure student’s safety at school.
Awareness and Sensitization
The school administrators, teachers, and students should be sensitized to create and maintain a safe and secure environment. They should be able to self-monitor and take corrective action as and when required. While technology can support smooth processes, sensitive administrators, teachers, and students will create the right environment.
Schools should follow the PPRR i.e. prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery model of risk management. This model will help the school administration to be vigilant in matters pertaining to a student’s safety.
All the schools have CCTV cameras installed for ensuring safety and security. Emotional or psychosocial maltreatment hampers a child’s sense of personal safety and security. Schools should focus on providing the right ambience to nurture and develop a child.
Safety in school transportation
As per CBSE guidelines, it is mandatory for schools to install GPS systems to ensure the safety of students in school transport. This too can enable schools to provide updates to parents about their children’s whereabouts. However, this is something that must be monitored regularly to check whether the drivers are sticking to their prescribed routes and following traffic rules. Any violation of speed limits or variance in routes should be investigated, resolved, and documented. Additionally, there should be a defined escalation matrix to address these violations.
Monitor Activities at School
Prudence should be applied in selecting activities in the school premises for monitoring. An understanding of the at-risk areas and creating a system to mitigate those risks can help in preventing unauthorized activity without creating an oppressive big brother environment.
Restricted access areas should be clearly defined and access should be managed both by architectural design and technology.
Additional measures that can augment the system are:
- Establish clear safety and security policies.
- Assessing school processes from time to time.
- The document, investigate and report to relevant personnel any suspicious incident at school
- Mandatory carrying of ID cards.
- Training on safety and security.
- Install a central security system.
- Issue access cards to restricted areas.
Security Personnel in Entrances and Exits
This is the first thing that we notice – the security personnel. Every effort must be made to prevent the school from turning into a heavily policed school. It is only then can one establish trust in the institution and its people. However, there are certain checkpoints that require the physical presence of security, particularly the entrance and exits. Also areas of restricted access where trespassers may be at risk of injury.
An identity card can carry much more information. “Smart-ID Cards,” with in-built sensors can be leveraged with technology to keep parents informed of their children’s whereabouts.
Physical Safety of students
It is important to keep the school premises safe and secure for all the students. The school building built should ensure the ’Life Safety’ of students and should be resilient to all kinds of hazards. School administration, teachers, and students should be well aware and prepared to respond to any kind of disaster or threat.