Since the 1999 Columbine shooting there have been at least 200 shootings on school campuses, the most recent being the Parkland, FL shooting. As a result, school safety is a growing concern and shooting drills are becoming as commonplace as fire drills. Law enforcement and school officials are more intertwined than ever.
Schools and communities across the country are dealing with how to approach these tragic situations. Becoming informed about risky behaviors and what to do with that information is key for students, parents, and teachers. With that in mind, the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) is providing tools to promote school safety.
The Be Safe and Sound in School program raises awareness about the elements of school safety and security; mobilizes school administrators, parents, students, staff, law enforcement, elected officials, businesses, and community members; and facilitates the development and monitoring of school-specific strategic plans.
Be Safe and Sound in School is a comprehensive approach to school safety. It addresses problems by evaluating physical conditions such as lights, locks, alarms, and cameras, as well as cultural and social variables such as bullying, violence, and vandalism that may promote an unsafe environment.
It is critical that all stakeholders be engaged in the identification of problem areas, assessment of school needs, and the development and implementation of solutions. The steps in the program are:
- Form an action team
- Identify safety and security problems
- Hold a school safety and security forum
- Develop an action plan
- Publicize your initiative
- Advocate for your cause
- Evaluate success and revise the plan
“The safety of our children is vital. Unfortunately, every tragic shooting frightens students making it harder for them to learn,” said NCPC President Ann Harkins. “Be Safe and Sound engages communities in reducing the opportunities for tragedy to occur.”
Be Safe and Sound in School is an initiative of the NCPC conducted in collaboration with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice.