SAFETY AND SECURITY IN SCHOOL MANAGEMENT
The importance of safety and security in schools cannot be over emphasized. Cases of accidents, mishaps, kidnapping, attacks and even death in schools are now very rampant and prevalent. School operators must pay more attention to safety and security in their respective schools.
SCHOOL MANAGEMENTS RESPONSIBILITIES IN TERMS OF SAFETY/SECURITY
It is the responsibility of school owners to do the following:
- Provide and maintain a healthy and safe school environment by managing and minimizing exposure to risks.
- Ensure that students and staff are protected from risks and hazards both on school grounds and away from the school (e.g. on excursions or outings etc)
- Provide information, training, instruction and supervision to enable staff to work safely and without risks to their health
- Provide for the workplace health and safety of workers, including non-teaching staff (such as cleaners and technicians when they enter the school to the extent that the hazards and risks are under the employers control. For example, the employer must provide contractors with safe and clear access to the area in which they are going to work and establish processes to isolate staff and students from these work areas where necessary.
- Installation of CCTV cameras in classes and other strategic places.
SOME COMMON HAZARDS IN SCHOOLS
Outlined below are some very common hazards identified in most schools. These hazards are responsible for most accidents and mishaps in schools. School operators should look out for them and correct them as soon as possible.
- Broken sockets and light points in the classes, laboratories, staff room, hostels, etc.
- Slippery/Wet floors
- Steep Stairways
- Tiles that are too smooth. (School tiles should have some considerable friction.)
- Broken louvers, windows, glass doors, notice boards, etc
- Fans with loose parts and screws
- Faulty swings, see-saw, slides etc
- Sharp and dangerous objects on the school field and play areas
- Poor storage of dangerous and hazardous chemicals in the laboratories.
- Overgrown grass in the school, leading to the presence of reptiles and rodents
- Students bringing dangerous objects to school unnoticed- Blades, Scissors, Knives, Firearms, catapult, acid, chemicals etc.
- Staircase with weak handrails
- Cars reversing and parking in the morning and after school with no one supervising
- Crowded classrooms with poor ventilation
- Fuelling school generator while itis running or still very hot.
- Placing the school generator too close to the classroom area, thus making the students inhale fumes and carbon
- General poor housekeeping in the school environment
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SAFETY AND SECURITY IN SCHOOLS
- Every school should have at least one trained, competent and alert gateman. (If the school is big, they should be at least two)
- The school gate should be locked at all times to restrict unwanted entry by unauthorized people. (Apart from resumption and closing time)
- Every visitor coming into the school premises must fill a visitors register- This does not apply to parents coming to pick their wards.
- No child should leave the school premises during school hours without due authorization.
- Every school should have an adequate number of fire extinguishers, particularly in the laboratory and office areas. Schools with boarding facilities should also have hostel and kitchen areas. These extinguishers should be serviced as and when due or they will lose their potency.
- Every school should have a Mustering point- This is a designated area in the school compound where staff and students can gather (muster) in case of fire or other emergence evacuation. The school field is recommended.
- For boarding schools, the use of boiling rings, candles, hot pots etc should be discouraged.
- Facility Audit Exercise should be carried regularly to assess the state of the school physical assets – Furniture, Fans, Lights, NCs, Generator, Vehicles, etc in relation to safety
- Regularly check for exposed/broken sockets/switches and cover/replace them immediately.
- Broken windows, notice boards, glasses etc should be replaced as soon as possible.
- All Air conditioners, fans, computers etc should be turned off when not in use and after school hours. It should be someones specific responsibility to ensure this after school hours.
- The generator should be placed at a safe distance from the classroom and staff room areas.
- On no account should the school generator be fuelled while it is running or hot.
- All classes should be well ventilated with adequate lighting
- Teachers should ensure there are no nails protruding from desks or chairs in the classes.
- Teachers should be warned not to bring fuels or other inflammable chemicals into the school.
- Teachers should be warned not to inflict bodily harm on students while instilling discipline.
- Teachers and office personnel should be told not to overload sockets and light points.
- Every school should have a well equipped first aid box
- Boarding schools should have standard sickbay and trained nurses
- All cars coming into or leaving the school compound must compulsorily reduce their speed.
- All chemicals in the laboratories must be clearly labelled and well stored using shelves/cupboards.
- Every school should have a fire response procedure. What to do in case of fire.
- Teachers should regularly carry out random and unannounced checks of students’ bags to ensure they are not bringing dangerous objects and items to schools.
- Surge protectors should be connected to all major gadgets to avoid power surges.
- The school grass should be cut regularly and trees trimmed to prevent reptiles.
- Play equipment (swings, see-saw, slides, etc) should be checked regularly for wear and tear.
- It is recommended that schools have only one entry and exit point. Multiple points are unsafe.
- The school compound should be fumigated at least once a term.
- As much as possible visitors should not be allowed into the classrooms or staff room
- The numbers of the nearest police station and fire station should be made available to staff
- There should be a staff in charge of safety-related matters.
SCHOOL SECURITY PROCEDURES DURING TERRORIST THREATS
A number of potential terrorist threats are possible ranging from the potential use of car/truck bombs to biological attacks. Schools should give serious consideration to additional heightened security procedures during times of terrorist threats.
- Training teachers and even students on what to do in case of attacks on the school.
- Encourage school personnel to maintain a heightened awareness for suspicious activity and to report same. This may include suspicious vehicles in and around the compound, suspicious persons in and around school buildings including those taking photographs or videotaping, suspicious packages around the building perimeter and/or in the school, and suspicious information seeking efforts by phone
- Provide special attention to perimeter security and access control issues. Have clearly defined perimeters for schools through the use of fences, gates, environmental design, signage, and other professional security measures. Use designated parking areas especially for visitors and register staff and student vehicles. Provide supervision and monitoring of parking lots and outside areas as appropriate. Train custodial, maintenance, and grounds personnel on identifying and handling suspicious packages and items found on campus. Establish routine inspections of the building and grounds by trained facility personnel. Secure roof hatches and eliminates structural items that facilitate easy access to school roofs. Make sure that classroom windows are secured at the end of the school day.
- Review staffing and supervision plans. Stress the importance of adult supervision before, during, and after school, both inside school buildings and on campus, and in common areas such as hallways, stairwells, restrooms, cafeterias, bus areas, and other high-traffic areas. Encourage staff to maintain a heightened awareness during recess, physical education classes, drop-off and dismissal, and other outside activities. Examine staffing levels and procedures for security personnel, school resource officers and other police personnel, and associated protection personnel
- Maintain a proactive effort of visitor access and control. Reduce the number of doors accessible from the outside to one designated entrance. Stress the importance of staff greeting and challenging strangers, and reporting suspicious individuals Review security procedures for after-school and evening activities and building use. Utilize security technology and devices for monitoring and controlling interior facility access as defined by professional security assessments.
- Verify the identity of service personnel and vendors visiting the school, including those seeking access to utilities, alarm systems, communications systems, maintenance areas, and related locations. Do not permit access and report suspicious individuals representing themselves as service or delivery personnel who cannot be verified. Maintain detailed and accurate records of service and delivery personnel including a log (signed in by school personnel) of the full names, organization name, vehicle information
Evaluate security measures at school transportation facilities. Assess emergency plans.
GENERAL SECURITY TIPS FOR SCHOOLS
- Suspicious cars should not be allowed to drive into the school premises
- Every visitor to the school must fill the visitor’s register
- All cars coming into the school premises must surrender themselves for search.
- Dont have multiple entry points into the school, if you do make sure they are manned by competent gatemen.
- Instruct your gateman never to accept parcels on your behalf, except he is sure the courier
- Ensure the school gateman is competent, observant and agile.
- The school gate should be shut at all times (Except for resumption/closing time).
- All students and teachers should be educated on the need to be vigilant and report any abandoned bag, nylon, sack etc as soon as they see them.
- Ensure you have the phone numbers of the nearest police and fire stations
- Assign staff to be in charge of Security and Safety in the school. He doest have to be new staff. An existing teacher could do this. Just as you have teachers in r of school clubs, there should be one in charge of security.
- Carry out random search and checks on students bags regularly
- Start every day with prayers with staff and children
ASSETS MANAGEMENT (MANAGING THE SCHOOL’S ASSETS)
Every School administrator must take Asset management seriously. Without adequate management, the School will not go far in spite of concerted efforts. Some assets schools operators should be concerned about including the following:
- Physical Assets (Building, Classrooms, Vehicles, Furniture)
- Machines and Equipment- (Computers, Lab equipment, Generators, Fans, A/C’S TVs, DVD players
PHYSICAL ASSETS- SCHOOL BUILDING AND CLASSES
- The shape of the school building(s) should be such that it would enhance and facilitate adequate ventilation and space for recreation, free movement, games and sports. U or L shape recommended
- The building(s) should be painted regularly and should look presentable from the outside
- The classrooms should be well ventilated (At least two windows on both sides)
- The classrooms should be spacious or at least adequate in size for the number of occupants.
- The classroom should be Well lit up (adequate lighting) the design should be such that light can always find its way in.
- Classroom furniture should be comfortable, right size and have a backrest compulsorily
- Classrooms should be painted in bright and students friendly colours
- There should be rooms for Library, Sickbay, Computer Lab, etc
- There should be separate toilets for Teachers (Male/Female), Students (Male/Female)
- The school generator, School Bus and other machines should be serviced regularly
MACHINES AND EQUIPMENT
1) The physical tools and equipment of the School, as well as physical facilities, must be maintained kept in good working condition to allow tasks that depend on this equipment to be completed as efficiently and effectively as possible.
2) An up-to-date inventory of all the Schools equipment should be maintained and updated regularly. (Taking Depreciation into consideration)
3) The school name should be inscribed on all equipment. To reduce the incidence! likelihood and loss.
4) A Fixed Asset register should be kept by the school and updated regularly. See sample below.
SCHOOL FIXED ASSET REGISTER
|S/N||NAME OF ASSET||CODE||QTY||ASSET