SECURITY AT SCHOOLS
“It is not who you attend school with but who controls the school you attend”, a famous quote by Nick Giovanni, correctly states the essentiality of school management. An institution like school provides formal education to a child, in an environment which is favorable and challenging yet safe and secure. Thus, the primary aim of the Department of Education is to implement security measures to create a harmless ambience for staff and students and to protect school property.
Concerns: Alarming incidents at schools, all around the country, has forced the public to question the judgment and quality of the school authorities and their lackadaisical approach towards the safety of the students. Recent acts of violence and destruction has raised concern among parents and guardians, as their children spend half of their day at school in a similar environment.
Security Measures fro Schools: The Growing public anxiety over such incidents in public schools has prompted educators and lawmakers to drastically heighten security and safety measures in schools in order to reduce and prevent violence and ensure safety in schools. Some of the immediate measures the authorities must adapt are Zero Tolerance Policy, Increasing physical security, providing Self Defense classes, increasing liaison with law enforcement and private security agencies and offering students types of violence prevention programs.
- Increased Physical Security: There should be limited access inside the school premises and all unmonitored entrances must be locked while the main gate should always be under CCTV surveillance and monitored 24*7. The visitors should not be permitted to enter without checking in at the main office, and a distinct identification must be issued, that they have to wear while on campus. The security officials are to be assigned at specific campus perimeters and hallways and they should be provided with a two-way radio for better communication.
There should be regular inspections of the exterior and interior of the campus and any suspicious activity must be immediately reported to school officials or the police.
Apart from installing a minimum of 25 security cameras around the school in classrooms, hallways, gyms, cafeterias, parking lots, football fields, and on each school bus, walk-through metal detectors should also be acquired by school authorities for the screening of weapons or explosives that promote violence and threat.
- Disaster Plans: A variety of approaches are needed for implementation of effective security and other uncalled disasters. There should be special arrangements and solutions for security breaches and associated vandalism like arson and theft in schools. There should be adequate security exits and students should be given special classes to tackle such aversions. These incidents severely disrupts the normal daily routine of schools, and often results in the loss of valuable and irreplaceable resources and sometimes even innocent lives.
- Zero Tolerance Policies: Public schools should have zero tolerance policies for firearms and other weapons, alcohol, illegal or legal drugs, tobacco, and violence. There must be predetermined penalties for the students and staff and they shouldn`t be forgiven under any circumstances. There should be rigorous action taken against students who disobey the rules and the same applies to the teachers as well. This is the duty of the principal to keep an eye on all activities and be alert in every situation.
- Liaison with Law Enforcement and Private Security Agencies: Security guards and police officers can identify places in public schools that must be monitored for situations where property damage, crimes, or physical violence may occur. These places are usually the halls, toilets, restrooms, cafeteria, and the parking lot. By being at the right place at the right time, security guards or police officers can avoid and minimize mishaps effectively. Hence, such professionals must be appointed to perform multiple tasks such as patrolling school grounds, assisting with investigations of students who break school rules, conducting searches for substances like drugs, alcohol, cigars, etc, and arresting intruders who sneak into the school.
- Violence Prevention Programs: These programs put forward the examples of students who have been punished for violating school rules and try to prevent these students from committing future acts of violence by making them realize that their actions are unacceptable. Banning a criminal does not kill the crime, thus this program seeks to avoid criminalizing offending students and keep them in the classroom, which avoids disrupting their education. Perpetrators who snoop around the campus doing inappropriate activities should be penalized and students should be aware of such happenings and trained to be alert.
Conclusion: School authorities and Security Department should identify the specific problems that are currently taking place at their school and determine how to rationally address them without further delay. At this time when parents continue to fear crime and violence, increased security is unavoidable. Prevention measures, outside of security devices, should also be considered that include peer mediation, parental involvement, and more easy access to security personnel. Children need a healthy and an uninterrupted ambience and their parents should be willing to send them to schools without fearing anything unfortunate happening to them and this can only be achieved if the school management promises a better and a safe environment for the students.
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