Schools have really amped up their security measures in the past ten years since the Columbine tragedy.
The surprise of the shooting left schools with the motto to never be caught off guard again. It spring boarded the child safety movement with the advance of the school safety research industry, pushing schools to lock doors , install security cameras and mass-notification call systems, and require all staff and visitors to wear ID badges.
It also gave rise to the anti-bullying movement. “These kids didn’t pick the local movie theater to blow people away, and there’s a reason they picked school,” says David Osher, a sociologist and vice president at the American Institutes for Research. This has pushed administrators to crack down on bullies and makes schools a more welcoming environment. Ways to manage anger has also been added to some schools.
These new security measures have heightened safety; however, schools are now finding their safety budget’s slashed. Federal funding for school crisis planning has been cut by 25% in recent years, a loss of nearly $10 million and numbers show that close to 40% of administrators admit they aren’t adequately training their own staff on emergency.
To correct this, administrators are calling for a closer bond between students and adults. the philosophy behind this is that when students are open to sharing their thoughts and feelings, they feel validated and are less likely to hide or let feelings of anger stew inside them.
Schools are mandated to run fire drills, but few run regularly scheduled lock down drills or run tabletop simulations of a crisis with police and paramedics. Perhaps time has lulled us into a false sense of security when it comes to school safety.
There is more we can do to keep kids safe in school. Bulletproof backpacks look like regular backpacks but provide the extra comfort that hopefully will not need to be used. Products like this are not always on a parent’s mind, but perhaps they should be. This information shows that schools can only go so far in protecting our children. The stand against violence starts at home and is something we need to reinforce everyday.