From: Rebecca Lanier
Received: Dec. 15
As a public school teacher of 10 years, I have been in the trenches and feel very solid on my ideas on improving school safety. As a parent, I feel that this issue has to be addressed immediately by all schools throughout the U.S. Regardless of money, the public has to ensure the safety of our children when at school. I believe the following would greatly benefit ALL schools:
- Require all staff to wear name badges at ALL times, and all visitors must have a school identification badge. No visitor should be allowed in the building unless approval has been given by the building administrators. No one has business in an educational facility without having a criminal history check prior to entrance. If parents need to speak to someone specific, then they can meet that person in the principal’s office or a conference room.
- All doors must have a swipe card security access device. All students should have to swipe student ID cards to get into the building also. This is quite possible, as many photography companies, such as Life Touch, take yearbook pictures and provide students with ID cards with bar codes.
- The entrance to the building should be in one location that deters anyone from accessing students easily. No intruder should have direct walking access to students.
- Teachers should be able to lock all doors from the inside. Any windows located near doors need to be removed and replaced with material that blocks the view of anyone in the hallways.
- All windows should remain locked at ALL times. If the heating/air system is preventing the classroom from being comfortable, then fix it as soon as possible.
- At no time should any staff or student allow anyone to enter through a door without swiping an access card.
- All staff should be trained on addressing visitors in the building to ensure that the visitor has taken the proper steps to be in the building.
- Lock-down drills need to be ran routinely and efficiently, and they need to be performed with the utmost seriousness from staff and students. Assessment of student safety needs to be performed every year by monitoring these lock-down drills. If a teacher addresses an issue, such as a faulty door lock, then the door lock needs to be replaced immediately (within 24 hours).
- No door or window should ever be propped or left open without a supervisor present to close it in case of emergency.
- All staff should be trained in dealing with safety threats (ways to defend themselves and students in case of an attack).
- All administrators and employees near the front entrance need trained in addressing a threat. At all times, there should be easy access to contacting the police. Administrators should be trained in utilizing weapons or means of protecting the students and staff by keeping an intruder out of the inner building.
- Teachers and other staff need a direct phone line in their room to make inside and outside contact with administrators and the authorities.
The above are measures that can be achieved rather quickly and without major monetary issues involved. Below are a few more security measures that should be taken in the next five years.
- Cameras should be in place in all hallways and all entrances.
- All students, staff and visitors must go through the entrance in the morning and walk through a metal detector. Entrance in the mornings should be closely monitored and guarded by administrators or law enforcement.
- Police should make routine visits to school grounds each day.
- School property should be closed to all visitors. All visitors should enter and exit through security gates. Staff and students can receive parking passes to gain quicker access.
As we all mourn the loss in Connecticut, we should move toward improving the future. As we remember heroes, like Victoria Soto and Dawn Hochsprung, we should honor their bravery by taking measures to prevent these horrific events from happening ever again in our public schools.