Listen to this blog
By Chris Hardman, Ph.D.
Ensuring the safety of students and staff is of paramount importance—but the exterior safety measures that can proactively prevent emergencies are often overlooked or under used.
In this blog, we summarize key strategies and practices for securing the school campus from its perimeter to the classroom, with a focus on the CDC’s Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED).
What is Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)?
CPTED is a powerful approach that enhances the design of the built environment to reduce opportunities for disputes and violence while promoting positive behavior (CDC, 2022). By thoughtfully considering elements such as lighting, access control, camera systems, landscaping, and signage, schools can foster a sense of safety and significantly improve security outcomes. Implementing CPTED principles dissuades potential threats while providing students and staff with a reassuring sense of protection.
1. Limited Points of Entry and Access Control
A fundamental aspect of securing the school campus is limiting points of entry. Ideally, a single point of entry should be utilized, ensuring that visitors enter through one designated door. Access control and egress-only doors at other exterior points further prevent unauthorized entry. Enforcing a strict policy against propping doors open, regardless of the reason, is crucial.
2. Visible—and active—partnership with local law enforcement
“If you want to increase the safety and security of your school, Raptor is the way to go. Not only does it help with your Visitor Management system and keeping records, but it also has the Emergency Management component that is simple to use. Raptor has always been very good with customer service, and the system itself streamlines everything for you.” Ron Rincones, SRO at Ropes ISD
Having a School Resource Officer (SRO) park a police vehicle within sight of visitors sends a clear signal of police presence and enhances security. Additionally, cultivating a strong relationship with your SRO and local law enforcement through clear communication and regular drill practice will serve to improve your emergency response coordination.
3. Implementing a Robust Visitor Management Protocol
Upon entering the school building, visitors should be subjected to a thorough screening process to identify any circumstances that might prohibit them from being on school grounds. A robust visitor management system assures students and staff that all visitors have been vetted and are deemed safe to be inside the building. This step adds an extra layer of security to the campus environment.
Implementing a robust visitor management system helps schools control access to the premises and track visitors. Raptor Visitor Management quickly scans visitor IDs against the sex offender databases of all 50 states—and your own custom lists, as well.
4. Standardize Safety Procedures and Trainings
Restricting access and opportunities for potential threats sets the stage for implementing standardized safety procedures. Regular training and reviews of emergency measures should be commonplace for both students and staff. Lockdown, shelter-in-place, and severe weather procedures must be cohesive and executable, empowering the campus community to act swiftly and efficiently in the event of an emergency.
With Raptor Drill Manager, you can prepare your school for any situation, track all drills, and eliminate compliance risks. Because Drill Manager also generates reports following drills, you can analyze them to see what is working—and where you need to improve performance.
Creating a Safe and Secure Campus
Being proactive with the safety measures you implement helps fortify your school campuses against potential threats. Embracing CPTED principles by securing points of entry, establishing rigorous visitor management protocols, and conducting regular safety training empowers the school community to feel safe and protected at all times.
Raptor can help. A trusted safety advocate and partner to over 35,000 K-12 U.S. schools, Raptor knows the state requirements, partners with K-12 associations, and works with leading school safety experts to ensure solutions align with ever evolving safety needs.
Learn more about school safety best practices in Raptor’s free webinar, Roadmap to Securing Your School.
A Raptor Guide: Bridging the Gap Between Schools and Public Safety
Collaborating with public safety improves school emergency preparation, response, and recovery.