When policymakers refer to “school safety” in funding initiatives, it often references promoting physical security initiatives, such as security cameras, metal detectors, and door locking systems. While device-based approaches can enhance security efforts, some are most useful to delay but not necessarily prevent violent events, and others help to provide additional details – like a comprehensive timeline – after an event.
Jason P. Nance, assistant professor at the University of Florida – Levin College of Law in Gainesville, feels administrators should support programs that build trust and collective responsibility over only opting for strict security measures (use of physical security). Specifically, his viewpoint article, published in the Emory Law Journal and summarized in his article for ASCD’s Educational Leadership, cautions when considering how to spend security related funds:
- Heightened security measures that rely on devices do not aid, and sometimes even erode, the creation of positive, caring learning environments.
- Low-income students and minority students are disproportionately exposed to strict security measures, with the disparity broadening as more funding is applied to equipment purchases.
- Physical security measures do not address the cause of the behavior or conflicts, making prevention nearly impossible.
At PublicSchoolWORKS, we agree that in addition to physical security measures, schools should provide effective safety and security training, understanding the physical security measures at their disposal or protecting their buildings and execution of drills to practice and prepare staff to take action in the event of a violence event. The combination of these initiatives ideally prepares schools to minimize or prevent injury or worse. Tom Strasburger, VP marketing and sales at PublicSchoolWORKS, outlines successful strategies for districts emergency response preparedness in the Spring ’15 issue of SEEN Magazine available April 10th.