The importance of safety in schools cannot be denied, as it aids in students’ emotional, mental, and physical development. Apart from offering better learning and education, it is the responsibility of schools to ensure the security and safety of students.
In recent years, the incidents of the mass shooting at schools have raised concerns among students, teachers, and parents.
Although the authorities and school administration are playing their part in providing security, the risk is still there.
Apart from shooting incidents in the recent past, some other forms of security risks include harassment, substance abuse, violence, and fighting. All of these factors play detrimental consequences on students’ physical and mental health.
Let’s find out the physical and emotional effects on students due to the lack of school security. But before that, it is important to know what makes a school safe.
What Makes a School Safe?
Safety issues in schools are rising rapidly due to social, religious and political factors. A safe school allows students to focus on academics, where external factors do not influence teaching and learning.
An ideal scenario of a safe school comprises of:
- No violence and drug abuse,
- School’s security is handed over to security officers
- Students are treated equally,
- Bullying is not tolerated at all
- Behavioural and ethical practices are clearly communicated.
- Action is taken against the culprits.
Physical Risks of Unsafe Schools
Safety in a classroom or overall school security is linked to students’ success. Studies and research have proved that the safer the student feels at school, the more successful he/she is. It is not limited to academics only.
However, most school administrators does not take it seriously and considers violence as a routine, not an impairment. What they do not realize is the physical risks imparted to students and staff.
Let’s find the link between unsafe schools, health, and other routine activities.
The connection between Safety and Health
A safe school is always a deal breaker for students’ physical and mental health. According to a study, it was confirmed that feeling safe at school is connected positively to academic outcomes and the behaviour of students.
However, on the contrary, students studying in unsafe schools are confronted with emotional problems, especially those who are victims of bullying or violence.
According to a report published in 2016 by Concordia University analyzed the link between academic success and school safety. The report states that the students feeling unsafe at school or confronted with violence reported severe symptoms of depression.
Connection Between Safety and Attendance
There is a strong correlation between school safety and the attendance of students. According to the report by University of Southern California, school violence results in less attendance, lowered probability of graduation and increased misconduct.
Students who confront bullying or violence at school prefer to stay home to avoid violence. Lack of attendance means a negative impact on grades and academic success.
Connection Between Safety and Grades
The environment of the school hugely impacts students’ overall academic performance. Those who feel unsafe at school will find it hard to pay attention and focus on what’s being taught, which leads to poor grades.
Another study found that students’ academic achievements are highly impacted by schools having gangs, bullying, and fighting culture. While research also suggests that high grades depend on students’ safety at school.
Connection Between Safety and Behavior
Many studies have shown a strong correlation between school safety and behaviour. Students who feel unsafe at school are more likely to have symptoms of depression along with poor grades and increased absence from school. In addition, students faced with school violence may also develop behavioural issues like carrying weapons and drug abuse.
The Emotional Risks of Unsafe Schools
It is usually seen that confronting violence at school by students highly impacts emotional and behavioural changes. Especially students who have confronted any gun shooting or being a hostage would likely face trauma for years to come.
There are various signs of behavioural changes parents must look for.
- Frequent crying
- Change in eating habits
- Academic performance decreases
- Expressing fear about safety
- Avoid meeting people or going out
- Complains frequently about stomachache and headache
- Feeling depressed and isolated
- Drug and alcohol abuse
It is the responsibility of parents to check the signs and take action before the condition worsens.
That’s why parents are becoming more conscious of the importance of safety in schools as more incidents are reported.
The Role of Schools and Communities in Promoting Safety
The role of schools and communities in promoting safety can help students excel academically and stay free of distractions or disruptions. Some of the roles every school and community must perform are:
- Guide students and staff about threats and how to deal
- Conduct workshops to train students and staff in real-time
- Distribute pamphlets and brochures to guide them about security measures
- Ask students and staff to inform any suspicious or unusual activity
- Hiring a security guard for better protection and safety
Why is it important to keep a safe environment for the students?
School safety is important in a student’s grooming, development, and academic success. When the school is safe, students are more likely to enjoy better emotional health, stay happy, and not involve themselves in risky behaviours such as violence, bullying, or drug abuse. That is why the importance of safety in school
All of these factors contribute to the happiness and connectedness of students with academic work and career growth. However, when it comes to improving connectedness among students, the role has to be played by teachers and the school administration is to create a more friendly and safe environment for the betterment of students’ growth.
How do you ensure safety in schools?
School safety to provide a secure environment to students is by following the steps mentioned below.
Hire a Security Guard
The importance of security guard cannot be denied, whether it be a school, a bank, or a hotel. When hiring a security guard, there are plenty of security services nearby schools. For instance, if you live in San Diego, you can simply search security guard services in San Diego offering security services.
Hiring a school security guard will prevent shootings, violence, and other unusual incidents. Make sure to compare the security guard services in your area to select the best one.
Install the Latest Security Equipment
When it comes to the security of schools, the administration should invest in the latest security equipment, such as security cameras and security gates. Security gates should be installed at all entry and exit points. At the same time, security cameras should be installed in every corner to monitor activities in the surrounding areas.
Arrange for Lighting
Arrange for lighting in different areas of the school to protect staff and students during dark hours. Investing in the latest lighting technology will help automate the lighting system in school. This means all the dark areas will be lit up when the system detects darkness.
Lock Different Areas
Apart from installing lights in dark areas, it is also important to lock different areas of the school after the closure of the school. No trespassing should be allowed in the locked parts of the school.
Monitor Visitor Access
School administration should take appropriate measures to manage and limit visitors’ access. The visitors must be allowed after knowing the purpose. Moreover, the guard at the entry point should also scan the person with a metal detector and note their name and other information.
Emergency Protocols Should Be Reviewed
Emergency protocols should also be reviewed from time to time by the school administration. Some of them include weather calamities, medical emergencies, or armed invasions. Schools must be able to deal with any kind of crisis and devise solutions and backup plans for each.
Q. Do students learn better when they feel safe?
A. Yes students learn better when they feel safe at school. The reason is that they are more focused on academics than any other external threat or factor.
Q. Do students learn better in a safe environment?
A. Students learn better in a safe environment than in a fearful and terrifying environment. Rather than only hiring security guards at entry and exit points, it is essential to take other security measures for a better and safer environment at school.
Q. What is school safety for students?
A. School safety for students means that all the activities in the school are related to academics and extracurricular activities instead of bullying, violence, harassment, or drug abuse.
Final Thoughts – Importance of safety in schools
School safety is an essential aspect for the development, growth, and academic success of a student. It is the duty of the school and the state to take the security of the school seriously before any incident results in catastrophe. It affects the lives of students both mentally and emotionally. The importance of safety in school should be part of the school’s principles if they want to produce learned students and contribute to society.
With schools vulnerable to security threats like bullying, violence, shooting, and kidnapping, taking appropriate measures ahead of time will prevent any damage to students, staff, and the school.