Alert Solutions Blog

Addressing School Safety Threats: 4 Things Your K-12 School Can Do

Posted by Philip Young on Tue, Jan 22, 2019 @ 08:01 AM

As educators, your main concern is the well-being and safety of your students.

There has been a shocking rise in school shootings over the past few years, with 2018 being the deadliest year so far. BBC News reports that in 2018 a startling 113 people have been killed or injured in school shootings in the United States.  BBC also states, “with many parts of the US having about 180 school days per year, it means, on average, a shooting once every eight school days.” With the well-known Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting killing 17, and the Santa Fe High School shooting in Texas killing 10, the number of deaths among students is notably higher on average for 2018.

School Safety Surveillance

School safety concerns like cybersecurity threats have also been on the rise. Unfortunately, the networks supporting K-12 school districts are typically not the strongest. According to Barkly, “schools are particularly susceptible to malware attacks for a number of reasons. For one, schools haven’t historically had to make cybersecurity a high priority, and they don’t always have a great deal of experience in fending off attacks.”

Budget constraints and easy Wi-Fi accessibility also leave hackers an easy entrance into school district networks. EdScoop states that since 2016, more than 350 incidents have occurred. At least one of those incidents resulted in threats of violence against children in several K-12 school districts.

Although it is extremely difficult to predict when and how a school safety threat will present itself, there are things that schools can do to help address these risks.

4 School Safety Tips for K-12 Schools

  1. Implement a Reliable School Notification System
    When disaster strikes, you have to be able to notify your school community quickly. Implementing a school notification system backed by a secure network is a great way to ensure teachers, parents, students, and administrators can be contacted immediately in the event of a school safety threat such as an active shooter or cyber breach. Our SwiftK12 notification system enables administrators to reliably reach hundreds or even thousands of student families within minutes.
  1. Monitor Social Media
    According to EdScoop, many districts are opting to monitor student behavior through social media. This software alerts educators when students write certain words, essentially painting a picture of the student’s well-being. This is helpful for incidents on and off campus. EdScoop provides the following example; “if students express the desire to harm themselves, these individuals can be contacted by trained staff who know the appropriate way to intervene.” Although this tool is helpful, and social media is often viewed by the public, schools are encouraged to use discretion.
  1. Cyber Security Updates
    As mentioned above, school districts are often targeted by hackers because they tend to have weaker networks. There are things school administrators can do to prevent this from happening. Consider the following school safety cybersecurity tips from EdScoop:
    1. Educate staff, parents, and students on the dangers of cybersecurity threats
    2. Implement strong password policies
    3. Always make sure school software is up-to-date
    4. Stay current on trends in cybersecurity

  2. On-Campus Surveillance
    Surveillance technology on school campuses gives administrators the ability to look out for suspicious behaviors and efficiently react to dangerous situations. According to Gizmodo, “schools are spending millions to outfit their campuses with some of the most advanced surveillance technology available.” With school safety being the priority, many schools are pushing to install cameras in hallways and other technologies like anonymous tip software to prevent dangerous incidents from occurring.

With impending threats on the rise for K-12 schools across the United States, preparedness is key. That’s why it’s so important to implement and share some kind of school safety plan with your school community, using the above tips as a guide.

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Topics: school announcement, school safety, power announcement, powerschool, education, school programs, emergency preparedness, emergency response, emergency management

4 School Safety Tips to Help Avoid Active Shooter Situations in K-12 Schools

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Nov 28, 2017 @ 10:11 AM

In the past 250 years there have been an estimated 370 school shootings in this country – causing the United States to have a higher rate of school shootings than any other country.

According to recent research conducted by John Jay College, roughly 85% of these school shooters had a history of being bullied by classmates. These are some startling statistics.

K-12 schools should have a school safety plan for these types of violent incidents and take a proactive approach in active shooter situations.

By following a few of the school safety tips shared below, k-12 schools can be better prepared and help keep teachers, students and staff member safe.emergencypreparedness-resized-600.png

1. Implement a ‘Zero Tolerance’ Policy for Weapons, Alcohol and Illegal Drugs
Research is torn on this approach, but k-12 schools that use ‘restorative justice’ instead of school suspensions are seeing positive results with students.

2. Include an Active Shooter Response Procedure to Your Schools’ Emergency Preparedness Plan
School emergency preparedness plans should address procedures related to active shooter response including lockdowns, evacuations, parent-student reunification, and sending emergency alerts to parents, the media and the school community.

3. Practice Your School’s Safety Plan with Local Emergency Responders
Train school administrators, teachers, and support staff on school violence prevention, school safety and school threat assessment. Emergency responders are strongly encouraged to practice the rapid response to active shooter techniques as well.  Schools should make their schools and school buses available after-hours and on weekends so public safety officials can practice responding to active shooter situations in these settings.

4. Have a Way to Communicate with Parents and Emergency Responders
School administrators know that an emergency situation could occur at any time. No matter what the instance is, it is imperative to ensure your emergency alerts are being sent to student families and staff quickly and reliably. It’s vital for school safety. School notification systems help streamline parent communication across multiple channels: voice, email, SMS text, and social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. 

What is your school doing to avoid active shooter situations? Share your thoughts on our blog!

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Topics: school announcement, school safety, power announcement, powerschool, education, school programs, emergency preparedness, emergency response, emergency management

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