With students back in the classroom and the school year underway, administrators and facilities teams are getting buildings ready for the next nine months of education. In addition to corrective maintenance and groundskeeping, a newer area of concern is joining the ranks of top priorities: security.
The goal is to keep students safe, not just through maintenance and keeping the facility in proper order, but also through deterring any potentially unforeseen threats, be they natural or manmade. In recent years, many schools have begun diverting more funding and attention toward security to help adapt to these newer concerns.
Growing attention on security
A greater focus on security is becoming a nationwide trend. Local area Vermont publication, the Bennington Banner, reported on its school district's new construction efforts that took place over the summer. In addition to standard maintenance upgrades, the town's elementary school has also received some significant new security features. These range from fairly low-tech, like the inner foyer in which visitors must wait before being signed in by security personnel, to more technologically advanced solutions such as security cameras.
Vermont isn't the only state whose schools have been further secured in recent months. The DeForest Times-Tribune noted that Schools in Deforest, Wisconsin, received similar upgrades, including security cameras and gates installed at middle school and high school locations in a $162,000 project.
Security starts with awareness
New upgrades and equipment are important, but are only part of the solution. The other half of the equation rests on the shoulders of administrators and maintenance. Enterprise News reported on one district that not only has taken the initiative to upgrade existing security measures with the introduction of a swipe-card system required for all staff, but is also dedicated to taking a more proactive approach to maintaining security.
As the superintendent of a school district in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, told the source, the administration will be conducting a safety audit of its schools to ensure security measures are up to the challenge of current safety needs.
Partnering with parents
Of course, administrators aren't the only ones who have a stake in the safety of students at their schools. Parents and guardians also play a hugely important role in security planning and reporting. According to a 2013 report from Gallup, 33 percent of parents surveyed listed the safety of their children at school as a significant concern.
While schools are undoubtedly taking their own measures to beef up security, administrators can also communicate with parents to ensure they are doing what they can at home. Safety and security is a joint effort between parents and schools. The National School Safety and Security Services recommended that your students' guardians should be just as familiar with your emergency procedures as your faculty and pupils. Fortunately, emerging technology has made this easier than ever. Mobile and Web-based technology can allow you to create, update and share security protocols in real time, not just with essential on-site personnel, but with parents as well.