School security officer waving at teacher

You keep track of everything—graduation rates, test scores, attendance numbers and more. So, when it comes to school security, why should your process be any different?

There have been more than 300 school campus shootings across the U.S. since 2013*, but many schools continue to undervalue security. In fact, during the 2015-2016 school year, the median total school district expenditure for safety and security was only $88 per 1,000 students, compared to $259 per student in custodial services.**

With these numbers in mind, it’s worth considering that effective security personnel could be the difference between life and death in crisis situations. But how can you measure their performance?

Though each school has unique needs, school officials should look to Security Officers primarily to prevent, mitigate and respond to incidents. To achieve this, U.S. Security Associates (USA) recommends that each Security Officer does the following:

  1. Maintains awareness of the school facilities. An effective school Security Officer should be like a traditional police officer “on the beat.” The Officer needs to have keen awareness of every part of every building and know who is supposed to be coming and going. He/she should be present and visible where students gather, including in the cafeteria, during drop-off and pick-up, and during class changes.
  2. Develops relationships with people at the school. It’s crucial that Security Officers get to know the principals, administrators, teachers, students and their families, and interact with them daily. Establishing rapport and developing open lines of communication are key parts of the Officer’s job. This is difficult for part-timers or a rotating team of Officers to accomplish, which is why USA recommends dedicated full-time school resource Officers assigned to each school.
  3. Reports abnormalities and inconsistencies in behavior. Once the Officer has developed relationships within the school, he/she should work to recognize and identify any type of abnormal behavior. Significant changes in someone’s demeanor or mood should be reported to administrators, counselors, principals and/or teachers. The school should also have a planned protocol to address these abnormal behavior reports. This is where intervention has the best opportunity to prevent another tragic event.

It takes a team of dedicated, trained and committed individuals working together to make a difference. USA offers best-in-class vetting and industry-leading training to ensure we hire the best Security Officers, so you can be sure you’re receiving a significant return on your investment. Our full-time, in-house training leaders keep Officers in the know with updated learning modules and ensure high standards across the company via the SecuritySTARS® program.

Read a case study here about how USA is providing customized security services to a school district in South Carolina.

Before you make a hire, be sure you’re getting the most trusted name in safety solutions, with programs proven in school districts across the country. Contact USA and get started today.

*Source: everytownresearch.org
**Source: Council of the Great City Schools, Managing for Results in America’s Great City Schools 2017

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