Show Me the Money
With school security being called into question on a national level, it’s hard to look at your school’s budget and wish for more money to implement safety measures. Any school safety budget should allocate enough money to keep students safe, but not all schools have the same money or are eligible for school safety grants.
You shouldn’t have to worry though. Badge Messenger® is in the business of making schools safe, even if you can’t afford to adopt new and expensive methods. We have a vision: making schools across America safer places, whether they have all the money in the world or only the strength of their staff and student bodies.
School safety funding is often a hectic mess. Not only do you have to allocate for materials, upkeep costs, and staff but you also have to adhere to a strict budget. New safety measures are being implemented all over the country, but not every school has the budget for metal detectors and armed guards. A school should be devoted to educating its students, and a school safety budget should be an afterthought rather than the primary concern for your school.
Even if your school doesn’t receive mountains of cash from school safety grants or donations, we’ve got a few ideas on how to maximize your school’s safety while maintaining a budget that stays in the green. Do you want to know what ties them all together?
Each and every single one is free.
Recruit Your Community
The community around and inside your school can be used to support school safety. The great part about recruiting the community is the diverse range of skills your community can have. For one, some people in your community can own businesses or have skills to bolster your school safety budget.
The first way you might benefit from your community is by surrounding businesses. Try to look for businesses to help you improve security. They can be security teams, safety solutions distributors, or may even sell security materials like electronic locks. Reach out and ask them to support your safety efforts. In exchange, you can offer them a sponsorship at Friday night football games and promote them at school events.
Good businesses love good public relations. Establishing a mutually-beneficial relationship with a local business can provide you with the tools you need to keep your students safe. They’ll get the chance to do some free advertising and you’ll have a safer school.
And be sure to tap the parents for connections. School meetings and surveys can be a great way to network with parents who may have some access to connections that don’t have children at your school. There may not be a security company in your town, but maybe there is one in the next town over or in the closest big city. Put out some feelers and you’ll be surprised to find how many partnerships you can acquire.
Enlist The Parents
Some of the time, you can maintain a balanced school safety budget by relying on the parent’s skills. Across the country, public schools are enlisting the protection of school-safety officers. Veterans from both the armed services and police forces are everywhere. Reach out and ask a retired officer or returning veteran to help keep your school safe. They won’t demand a large salary. The cops will have great pensions from their time on the force, and the returning veterans will enjoy some downtime before redeploying.
The best part about these individuals is they have training. The resource officer during the Parkland shooting didn’t go into the building to attempt to stop the shooter. Many scrutinized resource officer Scot Peterson for not being properly trained in his time as a deputy. Veterans of police forces and armed services will have had the proper training. Don’t worry if you think they might be a bit rusty, there are programs and seminars across the country for retraining these people to do security work.
Using these parents and citizens as resource officers can have a profound effect on your school safety funding, and might allow you to allocate money on high-cost methods like electronic locks and security cameras.
Use The Students
Regardless of what you may think, students are far from helpless. A lot of the time, we want to rid children of any responsibilities while they are at school so they can focus on learning. But teaching students about duty is paramount for their mastery as adults. You don’t have to arm your students with assault rifles to have them be useful, nothing could be further from the truth.
Instead of arming them with weapons, arm them with jobs. Have your students roam the halls and parking lots as hallway monitors. They can report violence, bullying, and active shooters before they are noticed by adults on campus. Take some of your best students and reward them by letting them take a period or two off to monitor halls. Or reward volunteer hall monitors with special pizza parties or shiny awards at the end of the year.
Students can also inform you of impending danger, long before you would be aware of it yourself. Listen to them. The Parkland shooter was reported to school authorities nine times and no one did a single thing about it.
Set up a system for your students to anonymously report suspicious or concerning behavior. A company called Safe2Tell recently did this in the state of Colorado and heard nearly 20,000 reports during the 2018 school year.
Students are bright enough to have solutions of their own. Right now, all across the country students are participating in contests to make their schools safer. Don't discount them because of their age, try gauging your student body for ways in which you can improve your school's safety. Be warned though, students may need a little incentive.
It’s All About Empowerment
Empowerment can come from anywhere. It can come from recruiting your community. Empowerment can come from engaging students and entrusting them with responsibility. It can even come from encouraging your teachers to start identifying the students who are outcasts and seem to not fit in with anyone.
No matter what method you choose to keep your school safe with your current school safety funding, you don't have to rely on school safety grants or rich districts to keep your students safe. Instead, all you have to do is find ways to empower each person in your school. While it might seem daunting, it’s far more effective than throwing money at the problem. Take some of these methods and test them. Each one is free after all, and we believe better safety is worth a little trial and error.