Proactive Steps in Protecting Students Using Technology

Proactive Steps in Protecting Students Using Technology

Increase school security with technology that doesn’t compromise a nurturing environment

Safe and nurturing environments are necessary for today’s learners. It is an unfortunate reality that today’s educators are worried about how safe their school environments are. School leaders need and want to be smart about what they purchase. However, parents are also guiding the decisions by requesting added security.

While technology enables schools to take a more ready position to keep students safe during any crisis, installing systems that give the community the feel of entering a highsecurity prison, does not provide a nurturing educational environment. To secure safety without producing an intense and seemingly disciplinary atmosphere, a growing number of schools are adopting a comprehensive system that assists at all stages of a crisis: before they occur, while they are happening, and after the event is over.

Technology can help educators implement safety measures that better secure buildings while keeping learning front and center. By using technology to take proactive steps in protecting students, school administrators can accomplish a more secure and safe atmosphere. So what tech actually helps prepare and respond?

Technology to Consider

Tip Lines. Students have the best understanding of what is happening around the halls and within the classrooms. They hear the threats and see the evidence. Help them by providing an anonymous way to inform school authorities without fear of retribution. Placing a tip line in a mobile app, for example, makes it easily accessible for students in a format that they already spend most of their time.

Digital Checklists. Transform your current paper-based safety checklists into digital forms. Electronic cloud-based forms allow for transparency. These forms will help schools better prepare for drills and manage daily procedures. Having a digital list is especially useful for events that happen commonly, but infrequently, like a building closure due to weather. In this example, it’s important for school staff to implement additional building lockup procedures that might be forgotten or passed over unless documented clearly. A digital checklist can be filled out faster and allow for transparency among the safety team, school administrators, and leaders.

Cameras. A properly installed system of school security cameras is an essential tool for ensuring safety on school grounds. Video surveillance provides real-time awareness and intelligence that enhances safety. Schools need to be able to monitor hallways, classrooms and entryways, prevent vandalism, and keep students and staff safe.

Access Control. Securing school grounds begins with keeping people out of facilities where they have no legitimate business such as the administration office, chemistry laboratories or an equipment storeroom. It also means providing the appropriate access for students, faculty, and staff at all times of the day and under varying circumstances. An innovative, integrated electronic access control system will provide schools with many advantages such as scalability, wireless capabilities, and building-wide coverage.

Communication Tools. In all stages of a crisis communicating a clear and consistent message across dozens of channels can be a challenge, so streamlining efforts is crucial. Technology is available to help schools implement immediate solutions such as mass notifications, web pages, mobile apps.

Systematic Emergency Operations

No crisis, whether it is large or small, is ever easy to navigate, but using technology will help from start to finish. All schools should have an organized, systematic emergency operations plan in place to prepare for, respond to, and recover from any crisis. The types of crisis can vary from gang activity affecting members of the school, to a natural disaster, or police activity near school grounds. Thoughtful planning and preparation can help ensure the safety of students and staff.

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2019 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.

Digital Edition

  • Campus Security & Life Safety Magazine - May / June 2023

    May / June 2023


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