By Teachers, For Teachers
With regards to the rash of gun violence occurring in American schools, including yesterday's shooting in Florida, parents and teachers alike are concerned for school safety and the welfare of their children. What was once something as simple as dropping your child off at school, has now left parents feeling insecure about their child’s safety. What’s being done, and how can we as parents feel comforted that our children are safe at school? Here we will examine these questions and more.
School safety has always been a concern, but it wasn’t until the Columbine massacre in 1999 that it has been a leading issue in the media. With an increase in media coverage, parents, teachers and administrators have found themselves more concerned with the issue of school safety, and looking to the past to see what has been done. To combat the growing trend in school violence, congress passed the Safe and Drug Free School Act. This provided schools with money for off-duty police officers, metal detectors, and drug awareness and after-school programs. Despite all of these efforts from congress, the incidences of school violence are still arising.
Prevention is key: There is no single way or simple solution to make our schools safe. Schools cannot barricade the students in, but they can implement appropriate security measures, such as keeping the doors locked, screening non-student individuals that come in, and monitoring the hallways. There are ways that can vastly enhance the safety of our schools. The National Association of School Psychologists suggest that school should do the following:
Bully prevention, conflict resolution, and promoting respect and compassion can all help create a safe school environment. Schools across the nation are following the tips above, and in addition, some are strengthening school safety by implementing the PREPaRE: School Crisis Prevention and Intervention Training Curriculum. This school-based training program trains school personnel in crisis prevention and preparation.
What Does the Future Hold?
If a metal detector can’t stop school violence, then what can? One company thinks they may have the solution, well at least they think they can save some lives. The International Armoring Corporation developed a product called “Safeboard.” This bulletproof panel can be placed across a classroom door to provide protection until help arrives. Another company designed an app called DfenCall K-12. This app alerts first responders and administrators when an incident occurs through a mobile panic button. Meanwhile, an Oklahoma company engineered a bulletproof blanket to protect kids in the event of yet another shooting.
With technology at its best and readily available, schools across the nation will be looking to implement anything that will help keep their schools safe.
Assuring a safe academic future for our children is the upmost priority. We cannot let our children live in a world where they fear going to school. School safety needs to stay to the forefront and in the media until all of the school violence has stopped. As a nation, we can work together to create a zero tolerance policy and provide prevention programs in all of our schools.
What do you think is the future of school safety? What is your school doing to address this issue? Share with us in the comment section below. We would love to hear your thoughts.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.