8th April 2021
How Technology Can Be Used to Keep Schools and Students Safe
Albert Einstein once stated that a problem cannot be solved with the same consciousness that created it. This concept is spot-on when it comes to school safety and security – particularly with Christian schools.
All too often, public schools approach safety and security with an “insurance policy” mentality; that is, they fervently hope nothing serious happens and make barebones investment in access security (like a few fi re alarms, surveillance cameras, access controls), and then cross their fi ngers, hoping for the best.
Christian schools often take this mindset one step further, counting on the moral instincts they hope are fostered in their students to prevent undesirable incidents. Both approaches made sense 20 years ago. Today, not so much. And that is the challenge Christian schools face regarding safety and security. Like public schools, they bring a 20th century solution to a 21st century problem.
For example, fires in schools are not a common occurrence, by any means, but they do occur far more often than most people would like to believe.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are more than 3,200 fi res each year in schools in the United States. And each year, our schools tragically instill antiquated and dangerous habits into our students with static fi re drills.
Our students are taught that when they hear a fi re bell, they are to stay low, walking single fi le out of the classroom, turning right, walking down the corridor and turning left. They then walk down the hallway toward the exit.
But what if the fi re has originated somewhere along this route? Now you are asking students and teachers to (a) not panic and (b) start looking for alternate routes while staying low, avoiding possible smoke and (c) did we mention not panicking?
Now, change things up for a minute. Let’s say it isn’t a fi re. It’s a gunman. In the hallways. Now, the protocols become even more tragic, more dangerous.
For most schools, their protocols kick in once shots are fi red. Let that sink in for a moment. A gunman is walking in your hallways – with a weapon in sight – yet most response protocols wait until the weapon is fi red before they are initiated.
Compound the issue with the reality that these gunmen are – unfortunately – quite strategic in their thinking. They often will make a phone call warning of a leak, or push a fi re button, in order to get more targets in the line of fi re. Harsh, but this is how we have to think – harshly – if we want to combat these types of problems.
In fact, to paraphrase Romans 12, which is familiar to these schools and their administrators, we shouldn’t just fall in line with what everyone else is doing. We need to think differently. We need to change the way we think about these emergencies and how to respond to them in the safest and most expedient manners.
Fortunately, technology today is available to solve these types of challenges…but again, schools must think differently.
There are surveillance cameras. The problem is that fi res don’t avoid cameras. Neither do gunmen. Cameras are often the fi rst thing that a gunman eliminates. Again, they think far more strategically than we would like to think.