Schools have countless responsibilities these days. Besides having teaching standards to meet, there are also requirements for school safety compliance. Without proper security protocols in schools, students and staff face risks daily, whether from violence or because of basic safety violations. By having thorough safety procedures on campus, administrators can take solace in the fact that they’re doing everything in their power to protect their staff and students. Being aware of common safety best practices can help your school stay safe and compliant.
Best Practices for School Safety and Compliance
School administrators are often asked by parents what they’re doing to keep their kids safe in school. Schools need to show that they’re constantly making improvements to their school safety plans, are regularly evaluating their security procedures and emergency guidelines, and are taking precautions that are in line with recognized best practices. Here are some of those best practices for creating security protocols in schools and staying in compliance:
- Train school administrators and staff (including teachers, school security officers, secretaries, janitorial staff, bus drivers and anyone who regularly visits the school) on violence prevention, school security, threat assessment and emergency planning best practices.
- Evaluate and revise security measures regularly.
- Create and strengthen partnerships with public safety officials.
- Devise plans for communicating crises to parents and the public.
- Consider using technology that allows for seamless communication in the event of an emergency.
School Safety Compliance Checklist
School safety involves more than just violence prevention. It also involves protecting students and staff from everything under the school’s roof. This includes science labs, janitorial closets and cafeterias that have chemicals and other hazards. In fact, all schools with chemicals need to be compliant with the U.S. Hazard Communication Standard’s chemical classification guidelines. In short, there is a lot to be cognizant of when ensuring your school is safe and compliant, which is why it helps to have an overall checklist.
Here are some questions that should be on your school safety compliance checklist:
- Is the fencing around the school campus in good condition? Is it secure and with locked gates?
- Is a visitor check-in system one of the safety procedures on campus?
- Is there procedure for communicating emergencies to the main office?
- Is there adequate lighting for school activities before and after school?
- Do teachers provide hazard communication training before working with chemicals? Is staff provided with training when dealing with new hazards in the workplace (i.e., when working with janitorial supplies)?
- Is an inventory of all chemicals in the school kept in a designated location on campus? Is it readily available in case of an emergency?
- Are chemical products and cleaners properly stored in a secure location? Is there a system in place for properly disposing of them?
- Do you have emergency procedures in place, and are staff and students aware of them?
- Do all staff members know what their designated responsibilities are?
- Are emergency supplies stocked adequately, checked regularly and stored in designated locations?
- Do all members of staff have a method for communicating threats to others on campus?
- Are fire extinguishers easily accessible? Are they checked monthly and serviced annually?
- Are all means of egress and corridors clear of obstructions?
- Are emergency exits marked properly and easy to find?
Research shows that students are more successful if in a safe environment. After all, if a student has to worry about their safety, they can’t focus on their schoolwork. The result is a failing school and a failure to protect students and staff. School safety compliance ensures that students are getting the education they need to become responsible members of the community, and shows that you care about your staff.