For educational institutions, the topic of safety is an ever-present and important one—and with good reason.
Unfortunately, news headlines, official reports and statistics show time and time again that violence and crime continue to plague campus communities. And there’s plenty of elevated exposure to risks associated with athletics, studying abroad and international travel programs, and other activities that create an ever-increasing accountability on the part of school administrators.
Because of this, there is a growing effort across the country to create safer learning environments, and throughout September we are giving extra attention to this initiative during National Campus Safety Awareness Month.
This goes well beyond having a secure campus. It means outreach and training to educate campus community members about things like prevention services, collaboration techniques, crime awareness and ensuring that a campus is compliant with safety requirements and standards.
It also means considering the inconsiderable. As highlighted by the Clery Center for Security on Campus, people don’t function well in fear, especially in light of a serious incident or disaster. To this point, they tend to make the best decisions when they are informed and are confident in their knowledge and skills related to a given situation. Schools can accomplish this by being proactive through education, training, practice drills and table top exercises, as well as keeping abreast of changes and trends that may affect your institution.
Having plans in place for various types of disasters and emergencies is a paramount piece to this puzzle. Whether it’s an active shooter, a natural disaster, accidents resulting in serious injury, illness or death or similar unforeseen circumstance, the most dangerous aspect of these situations is not being prepared to respond in an timely and appropriate manner.
By making a commitment to proactively manage your institution’s exposure to risk with a dedicated focus on campus safety, we build on a growing effort to protect the students, faculty and staff of our campuses from whatever situations they may face.
As law enforcement, policy makers, school administrators and the public work together to deflect risks at your institutions, it is our commitment to you to continue to develop and enrich this conversation with the latest information and valuable tools to help you and your team keep everyone safe while carrying out your mission.
As the new school year begins and we continue this conversation during National Campus Safety Awareness Month, we will provide you with relevant resources that will focus on helping your administrative staff be proactive in keeping your school well-prepared for the variety of risks that you face at your institution.
Accordingly, please look for our next segment addressing concussion and heat related illness as the athletic season gets into full swing.