School safety; what’s happening now?
School safety; it’s a brave new world, right? That’s what every parent sending a child to school every day hopes for. Parents all hope that their children are safe. In fact, they believe it. Teachers, school administrators, clerical staff and even maintenance personnel are the first line of defense. They are the first to face unspeakable evil and terrifying natural or unnatural disaster.
Who are these people entrusted with the body, mind and strength of our future? They are educators who represent every walk of life that our society places so much faith to protect our most valuable asset, our children. Our teachers, administrators and even the maintenance staff are our first responders. Truly, they are on the scene for fights, floods, roof-cave-ins and shootings. Teachers jump in where most keep walking. Suddenly self-defense, negotiating skills and disaster preparedness are all part of the job.
In the Time Before
This week’s discussions center on safety drills at schools all across America. Just the term safety drill brings to mind children marching from the classroom into the hallway, leaning face against the wall, resting on folded arms. Everyone is quiet, awaiting direction. Teachers are pacing back and forth, enforcing the silence. Finally, the shouts of “All clear!” tell us the drill is over. Back to class we go!
As a young child, I didn’t have any understanding of the reason for the drill. Why exactly are we standing in the hallway, facing the wall in enforced solitude? If the world is ending is it really this quiet? As I speak the words, I am met with a resounding Shhhhh….
Later in life I realized that a drill for a nuclear attack where everyone stands and waits quietly is pretty useless. What if the bomb takes out the end of the building where the teacher starting the “All clear!” is stationed? How long do we wait?
Prepared or Not?
We were so ill equipped to handle anything more than a fire drill, yet as a child, that feeling of safety and security permeated my days at school. Then one day, the world changes. No longer is school the safe place of my childhood memories. Tragedy strikes and collectively everyone responds. Some respond in anger and some in fear.
Next the security issues begin making the daily news. Are our schools safe? There are open doors, open windows, shelters or lack thereof. Most attempt to implement a course of action, but despite the best possible intentions their plans are inadequate for dealing with today's threats.
First, doors lock. Second, intercom systems are added as we soon realize locking the door and letting everyone that knocks come inside certainly defeats the purpose. Finally, intercoms are closely followed by video surveillance. Now when someone knocks and asks to come in, I can see their face. So if the bad guys and or gals come knocking, I’ll see them, right? Maybe I will see them, maybe not. There is always human error. I have not been trained to spot concealed weapons. I can however type 80 words per minute. What does all this mean? What does all of it have to do with school safety? As teachers, administrators and any other school staff know, information is a powerful tool.
If I know that Main Street is closed for repairs, then I take First Avenue to my destination. It makes sense, doesn’t it? I go around the problem spot. We have interactive apps and traffic maps to keep us on the fastest, best path to our destination. It makes perfect sense, right?
What are you waiting for? Go ahead. Ask the question. What does this have to do with school safety?
The answer is everything. Information has everything to do with school safety. As a teacher, having the information about a fight in the cafeteria before I release my class for lunch makes a big difference. Now I hold them in place until the issue is cleared and then I release them. It makes perfect sense!
Seeing trouble-spots on an interactive display allows me to make real-time decisions that keep me as well as my class of 28 students out of harm’s way. Relaying important safety information about ongoing threats directly to my smart phone means I am more proactive than ever before.
Active Defender is here, right now. Don’t let it slip away. Visit www.active-defender.comfor further information. Oh yeah, “All clear!
That’s the first drill, Shelter-in-place. It means my class stays with me. Wherever we are, we stay together until the threat passes and we are rescued or released. Active Defender is keeping our children safe, one school at a time.