In the recent past, we have seen some increased focus on school safety. School budgets across the board have been ramped up. Accommodation for expenditures on school safety products like a school dismissal software is commonplace.
There are many products that have crawled out of the woodwork. Most of these so-called ‘solutions’ have no place in a school setting. Statistically speaking, students are more likely to be hit by lightning than to be shot in class. Yet the fear of mass violence is driving policy at every level today.
The knee jerk reaction from the K-12 community in the aftermath of any major incident focusses on a short-sighted approach. To not address the root causes of their safety concerns is regrettable. A safe school involves an entire community. All stakeholders participating and contributing equally towards schools safety usually has the best results.
Do we want to create fortress-like schools with children who are drilled constantly, preparing for a doomsday scenario? The long term impact on the psyche of young minds going through such an environment is being actively debated today. The word “mental health” also gets thrown around a lot. It gets treated as some monolithic problem with a simple solution. This a very nuanced subject in itself and needs to be addressed by professionals.
Dismissal Automation– School Dismissal Software
I would like to focus on one physical aspect of safety at schools which is the ‘lowest hanging fruit’. Introducing Dismissal automation software is a simple change which can make a tangible difference to safety at schools. The results will be immediately apparent within the entire school community.
We all can agree without contention that every school needs to be a safe and secure place for our children. This means a closed campus with access controls via restricted entry points. Yet, when 2.30 pm dismissal rolls around, we open all access gates to allow free flow of students, staff & parents. We allow unrestricted access to anyone who chooses to enter the campus. A chain is only as strong as the weakest link. A school with even the best security systems become vulnerable if they do not have good dismissal protocols in place.
A school may have a closed campus with 8-foot fences, surveillance cameras, and metal detectors. Yet, without a secure dismissal process, we have a gaping hole in school safety. A good dismissal system not only ensures the safety of children but also reduces liability for the schools. Keeping parents alerted about their children’s status during daily dismissals is important. In Addition, having a plan for emergency reunification after a crisis is critical for the school leadership team.
School safety does not need to be a conversation about guns or armed guards. Before we get there, there are so many low hanging safety issues which can be resolved using cost-effective technologies. The backbone of such a system is a comprehensive school safety software. It brings all these elements under a single platform fully integrated with the existing Student Information System.
Benefits of using a Dismissal Automation Software:
- Ensure the safety of all children during dismissal
- Keep children indoors and safe until their ride arrives
- Real-time alerts to parents when their child goes to an after school program
- Reduce wait time for parents in the car line
- Streamline traffic flow around schools
- Encourage carpooling and walkers/bikers
- Track custody issues/ pick-up delegations
- Auditable records and reduces liability for schools, insurance discounts
Instituting a dismissal automation software to manage school dismissal will make the most visible difference to the school’s safety protocols. It will engage the entire school community towards a common goal. In adition, it brings a lot of attention to the school leadership’s commitment to school safety.