5 Student Centered Approaches to Improving School Safety
These five methods of empowering students have been employed by schools around the country.
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Everyone at a school or university should be involved in safety efforts, but when campus administrators begin brainstorming different school safety initiatives, they sometimes leave out an important constituency: students.
Students are a critical component of almost all school safety initiatives. Even if it isn’t appropriate to give them a seat at the planning table, they should often be involved in the education and implementation phases.
Student buy-in can make or break a school safety campaign, and forming a close bond with students can keep campus officials up to date on incidents that happen on or off campus that may impact their school or college environments.
That’s because, unlike most staff members, students are more plugged in to news and gossip. Campus Safety has reported on student tips that may have prevented things like school shootings. Additionally, research has shown that students are more effective at stopping things like bullying on campus than any school policies.
So why is it that students sometimes get ignored or overlooked? Administrators are often afraid of frightening students at the K-12 level, and the sheer number of students at colleges and universities can make their involvement a daunting endeavor.
But the more students on a particular campus the more important their involvement, and school safety messages can always be delivered in a non-intimidating way (consider the fact that Stop, Drop and Roll has been normalized but is a response for when someone is actually on fire— a very scary scenario).
To give administrators ideas for enlisting students to improve school safety, Campus Safety put together a list of the most common student-centered safety approaches. These include cost-free measures like conducting student surveys and more resource-intensive initiatives like establishing an anonymous tip line or employing bystander intervention training.
Campus Safety does not specifically endorse any of these measures, but we’ve seen institutions around the country endorse them. They should give school officials some good ideas to consider.
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Campus Safety magazine is another great resource for public safety, security and emergency management professionals. It covers all aspects of campus safety, including access control, video surveillance, mass notification and security staff practices. Whether you work in K-12, higher ed, a hospital or corporation, Campus Safety magazine is here to help you do your job better!