School and college campuses can provide a sense of security—a warm feeling of knowing everyone looks out for each other. Sadly, there are people who take advantage of this sense of safety to commit hateful acts.
A safe and supportive environment can prevent violence. Students should feel safe everywhere around the campus—in the library, in the cafeteria, in the restrooms, on the playground, and on the bus. Everyone at school or college can work together to create an environment where hateful acts like bullying are not acceptable. As bystanders, students can also learn how to step in to prevent crimes like sexual assault from ever occurring.
Today, we're going to show you a step-by-step guide on how to maintain a safe campus environment for everyone.
Step 1: Implement Physical Security Measures
A 2017 report shows that 30-to-50% of students have reported being bullied in school, and the figure is even higher for teachers. Harassment, bullying, physical fighting, lockdowns, and weapons on campus are regular threats that demand training and special tools to prevent.
The best way to prevent violence in campuses is to adopt robust security measures like security systems, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, and campus guards. You can place surveillance cameras in classrooms, hallways, and near each door to provide the security personnel enough power to monitor suspicious faces and harmful situations, so quick actions can be taken.
Security systems will allow you to control access to the building. For example, you can assign a single entrance point to prevent strangers from entering the campus. You can further employ several security guards to patrol the campus grounds, parking lots, and other areas.
Step 2: Implement Policies Built to Prevent Acts of Violence
Students in grades 9 through 12 participated in a survey that found 6% were either threatened or injured at school, 9% got into a fight, and 19% of students were bullied on campus—in the 12 months prior.
According to the same survey, nearly 4% carried a weapon to school, 7% skipped classes for safety concerns, and 15% experienced cyberbullying.
Now, the type of bullying and/or violence a student will face varies, depending on their age or gender. For example, boys experience physical bullying while girls deal with more psychological pain. All of this can be solved by implementing the right policies.
Policies improve campus security in two ways:
1. Deterrence: Zero-tolerance school policies tend to punish perpetrators and deter them from acting violently.
2. Fostering a safe environment: This indicates implementing policies that outline behavioral expectations from students promoting positive values like inclusion, respect, communication, etc. As for the staff, enforce policies that outline a teacher's role in maintaining a safe environment. For instance, require visitors to keep their badges on and teachers to report those not wearing any.
Step 3: Manage Your Classrooms
Violence on campus usually occurs before school, during lunch, between classes, and after school. And teachers aren't safe either. A 2014 study found that 80% of teachers are bullied in schools, mostly by parents or students.
Luckily, teachers can manage classrooms to solve this problem by a large margin.
Creating Ground Rules:
- Use favorable terms (e.g., what to do, instead of what not to do).
- Create rules with students so that they can implement their own sense of responsibility and respect.
Reinforcing the Rules
- Make expectations straightforward. Keep your requests specific, clear, and concise.
- Be a role model. Follow the guidelines yourself to show respect and inspire students to be successful.
- Reward good behavior.
- Help students correct each other's behavior. Let them know how violating the guidelines may result in consequences.
Step 4: Have Classroom Meetings
Students can discuss school-related problems in classroom meetings. These meetings will help teachers understand what's going on at the campus and help students feel supported.
Classrooms boast a respected environment. Therefore, it's best to have those small meetings in the classroom. Here are a few tips for teachers:
- Create some ground rules. Students should be able to talk about their problems without fear.
- Start the conversation. Consider focusing on particular topics like respectful behaviors or bullying. Meetings will identify and present issues affecting everyone in the group. Stories should lead to solutions, building respect, and trust between students.
- Share a story of a student who helped his or her classmate this week.
- Without mentioning names, share a story of someone who made a student feel bad.
- End the meeting by reminding everyone that it's their job to look after one another. Encourage students to talk to elders if they notice bullying.
Step 5: Establish a Crisis and Emergency Strategy
In times of crisis, students often panic and forget how to react normally. You need to prevent this from ever occurring in real emergencies. To do so, you must implement routine fire, lockdown, evacuation, and natural emergency drills.
Establishing and practicing an emergency strategy will also teach school management how to respond quickly, what actions to take in dangerous situations, and how to keep each student safe during an act of violence.
The crisis and emergency strategy should include how teachers and staff handle a situation where a visitor or student is showing imminent signs of school violence. These imminent warning signs include:
- Damaging property
- Fighting with students
- In a serious bout of rage
- Making aggressive threats
- Creating a specific plan to cause harm
- Possessing weapons
If you can successfully implement this strategy, both students and staff members will be able to handle a crisis accordingly.
It most often falls to school, college, and university employees, professors, administrators, and faculty to keep students at their institution safe, and understandably so. Parents put their trust in these individuals when they send their kids off to school. They depend on the school personnel to initiate the required procedures and set the precautions to keep their children protected while they're away from home.
However, as you can see, student safety does not and should not fall only to the said individuals. In fact, students can play a vital role in ensuring they are part of establishing a secure learning environment.
If you found this article helpful, feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions with us in the comments below.
Author Bio: Michael Gorman is a professional freelance writer and proofreader from the United Kingdom who provides the best assignment help for college students. He currently works at Essay Writing Service UK, which is one of—if not—the best paper writing service in the whole UK. Working as a senior writer at Assignment Masters Writing Service has earned Michael a reputation for being one of the best UK assignment writers to date. Feel free to contact him via his Facebook profile.