Connecticut Tragedy Leads Parents and Schools to Reexamine Their Own Schools’ Safety Plans
The National Crime Prevention Council provides parents, students and educators with school safety tips
ARLINGTON, VA – The recent school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, has left communities across the nation questioning the safety of their own schools as they mourn the tragic loss of 20 children and six staff members.
The National Crime Prevention Council offers tips and resources to parents, students and educators as they contemplate the issue of school safety. NCPC’s School Safety and Security Toolkit helps community members design and implement action plans for improving the safety and security of their schools through the Be Safe and Sound in School model. Be safe and Sound in School comprises a seven-step model that encourages schools to establish partnerships among all stakeholders in a collaborative effort to improve school safety and security.
Beyond the School Safety and Security Toolkit, NCPC offers resources such as brochures, tipsheets, fact sheets and rapid response PSA posters on the topic of school safety; many of which are segmented by audience, including tips for parents on encouraging their kids to report suspicious behavior of classmates.
Additionally, NCPC recommends the following ways to help keep kids safe at school for administrators:
- Enforce zero-tolerance policies toward the presence of weapons, alcohol, and illegal drugs. And establish and enforce drug- and gun-free zones.
- Practice the four principles of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED):
- Natural surveillance
- Natural access control
- Territorial reinforcement
- Develop protocols between law enforcement and the school about ways to share information on at-risk youth.
- Develop resource lists that provide referral services for students who are depressed or otherwise under stress.
- Involve teens in designing and running programs such as mediation, mentoring, peer assistance, School Crime Watch, and graffiti removal programs.
- Establish a policy of positive identification such as ID badges for administrators, staff, students, and visitors.
Lastly, NCPC encourages students and parents to come forward immediately if they know of a student who exhibits any of the following warning signs, and allow the proper authorities the opportunity to investigate them:
- Threats to bring a weapon to school
- Talk about retaliation or a copycat crime
- Overhearing or seeing a “hit list” at school or online
- Troubling essays or other disturbing writing
- Sudden changes in a student’s behavior or mood swings
- Students with difficulty controlling or handling conflict
- Students experience bullying or other means of peer isolation
- Mention of an upcoming anniversary date of a past shooting
- Glorification of another school shooter or criminal