In light of recent tragedy surrounding school violence, schools are cracking down on security measures to ensure their inhabitants' safety. We believe that the best way to remain safe is to be proactive rather than reactive in matters regarding safety and emergency situations. Here are six quick tips to help you prepare for the unknown:
Visibly wear your employee ID badge at all times.
It is essential that you not only carry your employee ID badge; you must wear it in a way that it's easily visible to anyone passing by. This ID quickly identifies you as someone who is meant to be in the school, which is especially important during these times of heightened security.
Familiarize yourself with the school's safety drill procedures in advance.
Every school and classroom has unique emergency response procedures for events such as fire evacuations, lockdowns, bomb threats, and active shooter drills. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the applicable procedures, maps, and evacuation routes for the class you are covering before students arrive. These procedures are extremely important and reviewing them in advance means you won't be left scrambling during a drill or emergency situation.
Take emergency drills seriously.
Even if you have advance notice of a drill taking place during your assignment, you must take it seriously and act as you would in an emergency situation. Make sure your students do the same. These drills are essential practice to make sure the whole school is prepared and responds properly in the case of a true emergency.
If you see something suspicious, say something:
Remain vigilant to your surroundings. If you hear a student make a troubling remark or notice a suspicious person in or around the school, report the situation to school administration. If you notice a suspicious object or package, do not touch it – report it. (Just remember to never leave your students unattended.)
Keep your composure. Always.
Even in the case of a real emergency, you must remain calm and in control. Your students will reflect your behavior, and the last thing you want to do is invoke chaos by yelling or running. Everyone has the best chance of staying safe when the class is behaving in a calm, orderly fashion.
Keep accurate attendance records.
Remember that you are responsible for the students in your care. Make sure they are always accounted for by taking accurate attendance at the beginning of the day (or the start of each class if applicable.) If the school evacuates, take attendance again once you reach your evacuation site and report any missing students. Be sure to take attendance once more when you return to the classroom. It is smart to keep your class roster with you for attendance purposes.
Reminder: While the polarizing topic of gun control is saturating the media, the classroom is not a platform to discuss your political views. Please remain professional at all times and exercise caution if sensitive subjects are brought up.