Providing Safety Measures within Schools
School violence is not just a recent tragedy. In fact, the earliest known United States (U. S. ) school shooting called “Pontiac’s Rebellion School Massacre” took place on July 26, 1764 in Pennsylvania (Wikipedia). These ill-fated events are products of many different factors such as bullying, revenge, and even mental issues. Unfortunately, school violence has become a more prevalent occurrence in society today. However, because of the unknown and rather unexpected motives of the perpetrators, an end to school violence cannot, in all actuality, happen. Certainly, there are procedures available to prevent occurring violence.
Through the use of increased screening and safety measures, school violence can be greatly diminished, improve the quality of the nation’s education, and restore faith in administrators. School violence has plagued many areas of not only the U. S. , but also other parts of the world. However, a number of the worst attacks have occurred right here in the U. S. , Columbine High School, for example. April 20, 1999 marked the date of fifteen deaths at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Two teenage shooters took the lives of fourteen students and one teacher (Listverse).
Providing Safety Measures within Schools Essay Example
This school tragedy led to an increased emphasis on security at schools across the U. S. (SFGate). The April 16, 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech claimed the lives of thirty-three victims and was named the deadliest shooting by a single gunman in U. S. history. Bath School in Michigan fell victim to forty-five deaths and was given the title of the deadliest mass school murder in U. S. history (Listverse). In recent history, Connecticut unfortunately experienced a shooting of its own at Sandy Hook Elementary where twenty-eight young children and adults were victim to a deranged gunman on December 14, 2012 (The Inquisitr).
But certainly, we cannot forget the February 27, 2012 shooting at Chardon High School that rocked Ohio (SFGate). More and more schools around the nation are stepping up school safety measures to ensure the security of students. Undoubtedly, the most commonly selected safety measure is limited or controlled access to the school in such ways as to lock and monitor school doors. Metal detectors, security cameras, and limited social networking access are more commonly being used to monitor and restrict student and visitor behaviors (U. S. Department of Education).
Monitoring and supervising common areas such as the cafeteria, gym, hallways, and parking lot is a significant safety measure usually practiced by schools (NASPonline). School resource officers, guards, and unarmed law enforcement officers may not always need to be present, but should always be available. Staff members should monitor all guests by greeting each and every person who comes to the door. Counselors and psychologists should always be available to students so that they know they have someone to trust and be able to anonymously report suspicious activity (Gumbrecht; NASPonline).
Crisis plans and preparedness training should be accessible for all staff members along with threat assessment procedures. The promotion of obedience of school rules and a safe school environment should be present at all times for the safety of the students (NASPonline). Schools should conduct regular drills such as intruder, weather, and fire for student awareness (Gumbrecht). A responsible and safe school always includes school-community partnerships and school safety incident data to keep the public informed about new procedures (NASPonline).
There are a number of structural prevention suggestions available. The most frequently used structural methods are locked doors and security systems. However, more advanced structural preventions exist: single, prominent entryways for guests and students to enter; reduced landscaping to eliminate hiding spots; shifted restrooms away from entryways; moved major mechanical and electrical systems; keyless entry systems for staff and faculty; and elaborate announcement systems for drills and instructions (Gumbrecht).
Panic buttons are available for $5,000 and operate on single police dispatch lines that send all available units to the school in case of an emergency. The buttons can be located in each individual classroom or in different regions of the schools. These structural suggestions come at a price but are well worth the investments (Scott). Because of the seemingly reoccurring school violence trend, many school districts have contemplated active shooter training and arming teachers. Even though this might seem like a good idea, there may very well be negative consequences.
Instead, most school administrators opt for the more common school entry policies and emergency manuals for all staff. Newer safety ideas are being introduced into school districts such as Mohawk, Ellwood, and Shenango in Pennsylvania. These districts installed computerized systems that scan the driver’s licenses of all visitors to identify anyone convicted of crimes against children (New Castle News). Administrators have many accessible guidelines for communicating with students, their parents, and the public.
Conversations with students should be developmentally appropriate and include guidelines for violence. Administrators should keep in mind the cultures, traditions, religion, and family values of students and keep the focus on normal routines and activities. Parents should be made aware of all violence conversations with students. The children must know that schools are safe places and there is a difference between reporting and tattling, they must be observant and report what they see. Students must also realize that every so often, people commit wrong acts, but violence is never a solution.
Open communication between parents and their children is key; the students should know to stay away from weapons. Also, the school staff must stress the understanding of possibility versus probability; students should always know that they are safe in school. These guidelines are important for administrators to convey to their student body and public (NASPonline). Without a doubt, school violence has made national headlines. In December, the NRA announced the National School Shield Program. They have issued “a report on how they believe schools can prevent further gun violence” (Gumbrecht).
The NRA will present policy proposals and resources to law enforcement, lawmakers, school officials, and the public. Because there is declining support for strict gun regulations, law enforcement officials will prepare armed guards that state and local officials will alter (Sperry and Wallace). A higher percent of high schools and middle schools require drug testing for athletes and extracurricular activities; badges and picture identifications for students and teachers; random dog sniffs and contraband sweeps; and security cameras for monitoring the school building and surrounding premises.
84 percent of high schools, 73 percent of middle schools, and 51 percent of elementary schools use security cameras for surveillance. A higher percent of high schools and middle schools have electronic emergency notification systems and structured, anonymous threat reporting systems. A lower percent of high schools control access to buildings during school hours, prohibit cell phone usage and text messaging, and require uniforms (U. S. Department of Education). Unfortunately, school violence is on the rise. Children should not have to be afraid to go to school in fear of experiencing a fateful attack.
By no means can there ever be assumptions made that attacks cannot happen just anywhere; no area is completely immune to violence. The public cannot be naive. As much as the thought of an attack is hard to comprehend, the possibility must always be in the back of the mind. There are countless ways to be prepared; school administrators just need to take action. Through the use of increased screening and safety measures, school violence can be greatly diminished, improve the quality of the nation’s education, and restore faith in administrators