Since the school safety took the spotlight around the millennium, school districts all over the country struggled to keep pace with state School Safety Assesment due to many reasons such as initial facility construction, funds, and new trends. This blog takes into account the perspective of a 3rd party consultant who has conducted many school safety assessments and will address four common issues they encounter frequently.
1) Inadequate Active Supervision of Students When In Transition
Most school staff do an admirable job of supervising students while the students are in the classrooms, but it’s often found when their students are in the various, but necessary, non-classroom modes during and after the school day, it is challenging to give diligent supervision during School Safety Assesment
During School Safety Assesment, consultants found frequently that there is not enough active supervision during routine transitioning periods, such as morning arrivals, after-school dismissals, breaks, class changes, recesses, etc. Ironically, most administrators have developed detailed supervision plans for the vast majority of, if not all, non-classroom scenarios; however, many times those plans are either not enforced by the administration (which invariably leads to most staff members gradually abandoning their routine supervisory duties)
Our Relevance: While having enough manpower is always a challenge for schools, PikMyKid is an easy to follow organization database of where a child should be at the end of the day and this provides a concrete process to follow. The monitoring of where a child should be has never been easier. No longer do schools have to run around trying to find a child after a dismissal change has been made.
Bullying and harassment are widespread in many schools where School Safety Assesment have been conducted, and some schools are even seeing an increase in these incidents.
Exacerbating the problem in many schools now is the advancement of electronic forms of communication which are sometimes being used to bully and/or harass in an insidious and sometimes much more hurtful way than other forms.
Our Relevance: Kidio’s platform also includes an anonymous tip line in the form of an app where any student or teacher can relay something they’ve seen, heard or experienced. These tips can be crossed reference across the district/state to be monitored by designated safety personal to assess the threat and thwart any further disturbance and help with School Safety Assesment.
3) Building Access Control
Unfortunately, many schools in America were constructed during a historical period when safe school design was not necessarily viewed as a major priority – or on the top of their minds for that matter. Many schools have also set up reception areas at the entrance but, still, the area is often not consistently staffed throughout the school day. Locked doors are always recommended.
However, regardless of the architectural design of a school, the key to access control is to train the entire staff and all students on the objective of ensuring that all visitors follow the school’s check-in procedure. Everyone must assume a role in this practice to ace the School Safety Assesment protocols. Administrators must also make an effort to provide outreach to parents informing them of this school routine and practice.
In some cases, convenience often must be sacrificed for safety. And, though it may take a while, parents will eventually become familiar (and even comfortable) with the process if it is effectively communicated to them and they realize that it is being done for the safety of their children.
Our Relevance: PikMyKid recognizes when a person is outside of the school ready to pick up their child and relays this to staff. No longer do schools have to have campuses flooded with unfamiliar people. The access to their child can now be through the carline or a single door if it is walk up dismissal. Teachers know that the parent is supposed to be picking up the child through the back end matching process and geofence access. This can also lead to a more efficient and quicker process as well.
4) Inadequate Emergency Communication
Communication during an emergency situation is crucial and most schools are under-equipped to handle the incidents that occur during the school day. Most schools or districts use Facebook and Twitter to communicate with parents during an emergency. This method proved to negatively impact parents after Schools used it during an active shooting evacuation.
Our Relevance: Kidio’s Emergency Alert System is a dynamic communication tool for school staff and first responders. It is able to be customized for ANY type of incident and can relay to only school staff in a non-critical incident or be connected to law enforcement, EMT, or the fire department. Some features include GPS mapping, continuous communication with a chatbox and checklists specific to the incident triggered.
To Sum Things Up with School Safety Assesment:
PikMyKid and Kidio are able to address all of these common issues found in school safety assessments. Through a single online portal, schools and districts can have a bird’s eye view of their school and have easy access to safety and communication tools on any device.
Want to learn more in-depth? Schedule an in-person 30-minute demo with one of our School Safety Consultants below.