Many schools have increased their vigilance regarding those who enter their buildings. Procedures include single entry points, requiring visitors to request permission to enter by communicating with main office personnel, vestibule video cameras, adult or (sometimes) student escorts, and security personnel stationed at common entry points among other strategies.
While ensuring a safe learning environment is not arguable practical constraints very often determine the strategies and procedures that can be effectively employed in achieving this result. Frequently, cost is at the top of the list. But schools have found ways to fund efforts to provide safe learning environments.
Despite the implementation of such procedures I have seen people (myself included) wandering around schools that I have had the opportunity to visit not having checked –in, not being escorted, not wearing visitor identification. Yet the money has been spent on efforts to secure entry.
Are those of us responsible for implementing security strategies and procedures truly paying attention, making a personal commitment, putting forth the effort to make sure that, to the best of our abilities, schools remain a safe place to spend time?
How effective is restricted access in establishing a safe learning environment?
Raymond J. Dagenais, Ed.D. is a Curriculum/Professional Development Specialist at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy and a co-leader of the Design Team for the Aurora University based John C. Dunham STEM Partnership School