What School Safety Looks Like in 2021

Students, teachers, principals, superintendents, school resource officers (SROs) and other staff will soon be navigating from classrooms and hallways to cafeterias, athletic fields and other common areas in school campuses one again.

For many school leaders, they’ll be making plans to transition from hybrid and/or at-home learning to in-person learning full time in the coming months. These plans will include evaluating and revisiting existing safety measures for everyday matters, medical emergencies and other adverse events. Superintendents, principals, SROs, teachers and others will also have the added complexity of how COVID-19 will continue to impact the education, health and wellness of their school community.

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Three Areas of School Safety Concern

Over 56 million children will once again be attending classes in public and private schools. The health and wellness concerns for some of these students are complex and involve continuous care. Other students receive mental health and emotional support services only at their elementary, middle or high schools. School leaders are also preparing for adverse events like school crime or an active assailant incident that sometimes last only minutes.

Here are three safety concerns that will impact K-12 schools across the U.S.

Medical Emergencies

  • 10 million–20 million children and adolescents in the U.S. have some form of chronic illness or disability.
  • There are currently about 6.2 million children under the age of 18 with asthma.
  • Over 3.5 million children ages 14 and younger get hurt annually playing sports or participating in recreational activities.
  • Diabetes has impacted 210,000 children and adolescents under the age of 20.
  • 1 in 54 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. 

[CASE STUDY]: Seamless Rave Panic Button Implementation Helps Kings Park, NY  School District Respond to Emergencies

Student Mental Health

  • 1 in 5 tweens (ages 9–12) were recently either cyberbullied or witnessed it, as well as cyberbullied someone.
  • 50% of all lifetime mental illnesses develop by age 14. 
  • Suicides increased 56%among ages 10–24 from 2007 to 2018. 
  • 70% of teens ages 13–17 report anxiety and depression as their top concerns.
  • 51% of teens ages 13–17 say planning for the future feels impossible in the wake of the pandemic.

The complete impact of the coronavirus pandemic on children and adolescents is unclear to experts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for example, said mental health-related emergency department visits increased 24% for children ages 5 to 11 and 31% for adolescents ages 12 to 17 at one point in 2020, compared to the same period in 2019.

Challenges in learning are affecting teens and their parents, according to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association.

  • 81% of teens report to be negatively impacted due to school closures.
  • 52% have less motivation to do schoolwork.
  • 77% of their parents say the uncertainty around the 2020–2021 academic year causes them stress.

School Violence and Prevention

  • 47% of public schools recently reported one or more incidents of violence, theft or other crimes to the police.
  • 83% of targeted school attacks from 2008 to 2017 were over in five minutes or less.
  • About 108 incidents of gunfire have occurred at school sporting events since 2013.
  • 96% of public schools at one point conducted lockdown procedures.
  • 95% of schools hold active shooter drills.

Related Video: Rave Panic Button Emergency Response App

 

Communication: The Key to School Safety

Staying informed and updated will be critical as teachers, students, SROs and others return to campus. It will be important for key stakeholders to implement the tools, policies and procedures to ensure their entire campus community is safe and protected. These stakeholders will need to prepare for, manage and respond to any kind of emergency throughout their campus. They must also keep their staff in the know about everyday matters, such as training sessions and routine school safety drills.

The Rave critical communication and collaboration platform allows administrators, teachers, school resource officers and others to improve information flow, provide continuity of operations and expedite response efforts. Key stakeholders would be able to scale and adapt their use of the platform for daily matters as well as unexpected adverse events. The platform includes:

  • A one-click mobile panic button application instantly connects to 9-1-1 teams, first responders and necessary personnel simultaneously. The application provides 9-1-1 telecommunicators and first responders with critical response data. It also automatically triggers mass notifications, digital signage and more.
  • Status checks enables administrators to collect real-time updates from staff members during an emergency. These updates help first responders and other personnel quickly identify where resources are needed most.
  • Two-way texting allows staff members or students to report suspicious activity or other issues discreetly. A student, for example, can report anonymously if they’re being threatened by a classmate. Administrators can communicate with the student and track the information.
  • Customized content directory hosts important information and documents, such as CPR instructions, facility maps and active assailant procedures, in one location so staff will be able to immediately respond.
  • Drill management ensures key stakeholders can track drill compliance for each school or at the district level. They can generate reports for drills, including active assailant, emergency and fire, and have a record of the date, time, participants and the campus(es) involved. Stakeholders can also customize their drill forms to include start/end time, successful actions and lessons learned.
Kathleen Ohlson
Kathleen Ohlson

Kathleen Ohlson is Rave Mobile Safety’s Content Marketing Manager, writing about public safety and K–12 topics. When she’s not researching or banging away at her keyboard, Kathleen enjoys going to concerts and “playing” general manager for her favorite teams, the Boston Red Sox and the Boston Bruins.

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