Educational Topics, Teacher Topics

Safety and Security in Schools: What’s New

Photo Credit: Better choices… / Maryland GovPics / CC by 2.0

 

The Hechinger Report wrote this week that nearly two decades after Columbine, prevention of school shootings still isn’t where the public would like it to be.  Despite multiple pushes for gun law reform and now a new push to “walk up” to disenfranchised youth in an attempt to curb violence in schools, no actual solution is in sight.  

 

School safety and security aren’t new, but the way we approach them in recent years (and months) has changed dramatically.  This week I had the opportunity to learn about two innovative companies whose mission is to make schools safer. With recent (and not so recent) news about school shootings, I thought it would be imperative that I share this information with you.  

 

I do not have any affiliation with either of these two organizations; nor do I endorse them in any way.  I am merely sharing what’s been shared with me! Read on to learn about two ways you can potentially use new safety and security practices in your school.

 

Educators School Safety Network

 

A snippet from their site:

 

Since the tragedy in Parkland, FL research from the Educator’s School Safety Network has tracked a huge uptick in school-based violent incidents.

Typically we track around 10 threats and incidents per day.

Since Parkland, we are tracking more than 70 each day.

 

Educators School Safety Network is a non-profit organization that visits your school or district and completes an assessment of the existing policies and procedures regarding school safety and security.  They check on the inner workings of the school, for instance: what’s locked and what areas of current policy might lend themselves to risk. They look to see what policies and procedures are in place already in case of crisis.  For example, parent unification. What happens if parents need to come get their child?  How do school leaders ensure that the appropriate person is collecting their child?  How do you contact parents en masse in case of emergency?  

 

They will also look for educational concerns in the building.  What’s your school climate, culture, and supervision like? Although your school may have policies and procedures in place–are they really followed? Does what you say match what you do?

 

They can also complete an intruder assessment, which I found both scary and exhilarating.  They send a stranger into your building and see how long it takes for someone in the school to stop them and ask for identification.  

 

After their visit, the team holds a debrief meeting with the school’s leadership team.  Their goal is to share their findings with stakeholders to ultimately turn concerns into positive practices.  Obviously this organization is just a consulting group, so ultimately the decisions rest with the school itself.  

 

Based on the needs of the school, the organization is available to co-construct policies and procedures for safety and security.  They can also make a plan for training staff.

 

Educators School Safety Network is run by a mother-daughter team whose impressive professional experience includes teaching, administration, law, and working with several federal offices.  

 

CrisisGo

From their site:

 

CrisisGo brings all your team’s safety communication together, empowering everyone with tools and information to help each other at the time of an emergency.

 

CrisisGo is an app for teachers and school leaders.  Administrators can send out alerts to their staff, reaching them on their phones, tablets, or desktop computers.  It’s like an in-house Amber Alert for your school. Information flows the other way too. If teachers encounter a crisis in the classroom, they can use app as a mobile panic button, alerting administration of a problem.  

 

The app also has your individual school’s emergency information pre-loaded onto it.  For instance, emergency numbers will be easy to access in case of crisis. If your school has lockdown codes, you can easily see which code means which lockdown type.  

 

I especially like this one because in the event of a school crisis, is there going to be a way to communicate?  Is someone going to have access to the PA or an alarm system? This is just another way to reach out to teachers if one of the other procedures in place fails.  

 

Additionally, they have a feature where students can access a portion of the app’s service.  Students can currently report bullying incidents, and anonymously, if they prefer. It’s important to note: students cannot access the Amber Alert style feature; that’s for teachers and administrators only.  

 

CrisisGo has been around for nearly 5 years, and I imagine they’re getting a lot of additional business these days.  

 

What do you think?  Can these companies make a difference in school safety and security?  Would you like to see them partner with your school?

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