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Safety issues. . .how many?

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HoHumBeachBum

Senior Member
It took me a while to finally admit that I don't feel as safe as I did when I began teaching 20+ years ago. One of my major concerns is that our hallway cameras are not working as they should. If our building has around 40 installed cameras, only half of them still show clear footage and they record. The other cameras are malfunctional. How would that not be considered an urgent matter to fix?

I've heard that some of our building's doors do not close and easily latch into the locked position. So, again, how would that not be considered an urgent matter to fix?

Please tell me that I'm not in the only building where there are (still) potential safety issues.
 
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Teacherbee_4

Senior Member
Not the only one...

You aren't the only one. I worked in a school just like yours with the cameras. It ticked me off. More so for behavioral purposes than safety though. There would be fights, acts of vandalism, thefts, etc. and they couldn't check the cameras because they didn't work or pointed in weird positions (like towards the wall... :confused: )

I have a few worries in my current school. My first is that there are 3 floors, all set up in a square. There are two sets of doors on both ends of the square, with 2 classrooms in each corner. The doors take you to the steps. However, that means on each floor, 4 classrooms go out the steps, then they are joined by 4 more classrooms and then 4 more classrooms. It gets too congested...but those are the only stairwells. It takes forever to get out wen there are fire drills.

My second concern is this school has never had ALICE training. They have an off site relocation spot if necessary and we take the kids there once a year. However, I'm adult and still have to bring my phone with me every year to remember how to get to that location spot. We are also told that if we ever need to evacuate, we should all meet outside before walking to our relocation site. I get meeting in the sense that the kids probably don't know how to get to the relocation site with only one practice a year. I also get that as teachers, we want to make sure our kids are all out and safe...but if there is an intruder, is that really safe? We'd all meet and count our kids before departing campus? Wouldn't you just want to run to your relocation site? Not to mention, evacuating is the only thing the kids are "prepared for"....what if it's safer to lock down?
 

kahluablast

Senior Member
In the last year our camera system was all upgraded. Does it make me feel any safer? Not in the slightest. The camera displays are all located right beside the front door in the p's office. I feel like the office would most likely be the first point of contact for anything to happen. Not to mention as a small campus with relatively few "extra" people, our office staff are often covering duties or running around doing other things. Sometimes there isn't even anyone in the office.

We also got fenced in last year. I can tell you that it does not make me feel any safer at all. As a matter of fact, it really gives a person an opportunity that wasn't there before. If I were in a mood to do something bad, one distraction and a call to evacuate would funnel every single person in the school to one gate area. A well placed assault weapon could take down a lot of people before anyone knew what was happening. I hate it.

We are in a rural area and I don't worry too much about shootings, truthfullly. Could it happen? Sure. But there are way more schools that have never had shootings than there are schools that have had them. You can't spend your days worrying about stuff like that. You make yourself as safe as you reasonably can and go on with life. I have a baseball bat in my room and a can of flying insect spray (20 feet) and that is my line of defense. Evasion and fight back if not.

I sure as hell don't want any armed guards or teachers. It looks enough like. a prison now.
 

Tapdancesub

Senior Member
Nope….

The schools I cover all have playgrounds that are accessible from the street, one has access to the neighborhood. Anyone can walk right on campus and get to classrooms with out anyone in the front office knowing a thing. While there are cameras, no one is monitoring them all day long. During COVID we were told to keep doors open for air flow as we are packing students in one on top of the other. I don’t really feel safe at school anymore, and I’m a pretty tough person.
 

whatever

Senior Member
We have newer equipment as well

But, now that all of the cameras feed into each Admin office, they no longer walk around the campus as much and let the kids SEE them monitoring. The students and teachers know that they can still see everything but all of us seem to forget that once the routine is established.

At our school, our students do better with a mix of the digital and the "boots on the ground."

P.S. I know that it is more money and time effective to watch all the cameras but I am referring to a physical, psychological and emotional presence.
 

all41

Senior Member
Not the only one.....

I know I've brought this up before because our safety protocols are not followed. Earlier this spring our entire K-12 campus was put on an all day lockdown due to a threat in the community near our building. I'm not going to give many details but this was a very credible threat from someone law enforcement has dealt with before. Law enforcement officers were all over the neighborhood, evacuating some homes, and police were stationed at our school. Then, about a month later the tragedy in Texas occurred. We had 3 days of school left. Our main doors were propped open all 3 days and more often than not no one was in the office monitoring who was coming or going. My classroom is the 1st one anyone entering the building will come to. We are very rural and do not have a school resource officer, we don't even have a city police officer. We rely on the county sheriff who acknowledge that it could take upto 20 min or longer to get an officer to our building in an emergency. Am I uneasy at school, he!! yes.

Many say that because we are so small we are at less of a risk. We all know everyone. (Yet very few people knew the people who had us all in lockdown for an entire day. :( )I think because of this attitude, we are more at risk. Small does not make us safe, it makes us feel comfortable so we let our guard down. That makes us vulnerable.
 
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WestCoastTch

Senior Member
Same.

I don't feel safe.

We are gated and the gates are locked, however, when the gates are opened before and after school, I see people walking around, no guest pass. The gates are very wide gates, and they're opened to allow the children in/out, but in the crowds people walk in freely.

Teachers have had their cars vandalized and broken into after school before 5pm.

We were asked to fill out a survey about school culture and climate. There was a section about school safety. I rated it the lowest of all time this year.
 

kahluablast

Senior Member
The gates are very wide gates, and they're opened to allow the children in/out, but in the crowds people walk in freely.
We open ours for the 10-15 minute drop off time in the morning, but staff watch it pretty closely and point adults in through the other entrance. Not that I would have an argument with a parent over it, but... We tell them.

It doesn't help if it isn't used the way it is supposed to, does it?
 

Violets2

Senior Member
Our doors are sometimes propped open too. No cameras here unless they are outside the building and I'm not aware of it. I also told the kids the other day, that I was a bit concerned because if we had a lock down, I wonder if they would seriously stay quiet because all they're doing is talking constantly and not listening.
 

Haley23

Senior Member
I'm in a newer building that is far more secure than our last one, hypothetically. You have to swipe your badge to get anywhere, and it's not feasible to prop doors open. There were some security measures built in- for example, you have to be buzzed in by the office. Once in, you have to be buzzed into a different door to actually get into the office- there's like a "holding area." Once in the office, you have to be let out in order to get anywhere else. If you made it through all of that, most of the classrooms are set up in "pods" that have their own additional set of locked doors to even get to the classrooms, and then the classrooms will have locked doors.

All that said, none of these doors have bullet proof glass, and they all have wide glass panes. For someone with a gun, locks aren't going to do much. Our alternative high school (we go there sometimes for district events/PD) has glass walls EVERYWHERE. The classrooms have all of this glass instead of traditional walls facing out into the hallway. Many, many people have complained about possible safety issues. IDK what they were thinking with that one.

In a previous building, after Sandy Hook they made us keep classroom doors locked at all times. Such a PITA, and like I said- what does a lock do against someone with a gun? I was a classroom teacher at the time and would try so hard to train my kids to leave the door slightly ajar when going in/out so we weren't constantly having to go open it for people. You can imagine how well that went. In other buildings we've had magnets in door frames where you could keep the door in the locked position, and then quickly pull the magnet for it to actually lock. For some reason they wouldn't let us do that there.
 

Tori58

Senior Member
If I were in a mood to do something bad, one distraction and a call to evacuate would funnel every single person in the school to one gate area. A well placed assault weapon could take down a lot of people before anyone knew what was happening.

Yes, this is certainly a concern when you need to evacuate everyone via the same route. Why would they do this?

Years ago, before cell phone service was widely available, my rural school received a bomb threat. I was at the elementary building at the time, which had two exits, but they evacuated everyone through the same exit because they were all going to the same place - a church a block away. As a specialist, who didn't have a class to supervise, I was expected to stay in the building and help contact parents before evacuating. This was shortly after an Arkansas incident where two middle schoolers set off the fire alarm and then shot 15 people as they evacuated, killing 5 and injuring 10. They didn't have assault rifles or I imagine the death toll would have been much higher. I was honestly grateful to have a good excuse to not be the first one out the door that day.

We were lucky. The bomb squad came and found nothing. There was no shooter. We all went home alive and only mildly traumatized. That was over 20 years ago, though. I don't know why a school would deliberately inhibit your ability to evacuate in the event of a school shooter.

It doesn't help if it isn't used the way it is supposed to, does it?

Truth! The private school I just left upgraded their security a few years ago - doors with key cards, cameras at the doors and visitors had to be buzzed in. The school is attached to the church and, for a while, everyone was scrupulous about keeping the doors between the school and the church closed, because the church was often open. But, it's one of the many things that fell by the wayside with a change in administration. Now, those doors are often propped open for hours at a time and outside doors are usually propped open during recess. Essentially, the parish paid for security upgrades that are fairly useless given how security is managed (or not) now.
 

flutetoot

Full Member
You are not the only one - my school has not had working cameras for at least 5 years. One of our security guards is so overweight he cannot get up so he sits at a desk all day. Some of our doors do not close all the way, either. My window shades are broken, so I cannot close them.
 

elspeech

Senior Member
Well, we do have cameras and our door outside doors are locked at all times, but the office is not right by the front door, so they could buzz someone in who could be in a classroom before anyone could react.

The reality is that I'm not particularly worried about safety, though. If someone wants to do harm, they will find a way. If they can't get in the building, they can just as easily come in during morning drop-off, during recess or at dismissal when there are tons of kids, teachers and parents around, or they could call in a fire or some other threat that would get the school evacuated and we'd all be sitting ducks on the sidewalks waiting for the all clear signal.
 

desert flower

Senior Member
Our campus is small. (Grades 3-5….four classes each grade level) We don't have any cameras. Our front gate is locked during the day, but someone could easily come through our front office. Our back gate is pulled closed but not locked. Plus, have door gates that people can walk through at any time. Our back gate also divides us from our primary school and HS.
 

Ima Teacher

Senior Member
I did feel safe at our school.

The main issue that we had was interior doors not locking. Our building was settling, and the interior doors would randomly stop latching. They did usually come fix them within a couple of days, but still . . . .
 

Teddi9192

Senior Member
Our school is ridiculously unsafe. The door to the playground is held open by a chair or traffic cone. It is too much bother for the district to get the badge swiper fixed so we have no way back in the building except to walk all the way around. The playground is wide open with no fence and a large ditch with a stream along the side. Right beside the playground is a health clinic with about 15 steps separating the sidewalk and the propped door. It also uses our parking lot that is behind the building with no cameras in that area. Tons of hiding spots.

Inside the building, we have to go into the hallway to lock our classroom doors. There is no way to lock them from the inside. We were given a tiny hammer to break our windows if we need to go out that way. Very few of our kids would fit out the lower windows. The outside door to the gym is often propped open as is the cafeteria and custodian door. Those rooms get unbearably hot.
 

teacherwriter

Senior Member
Oh yeah, safety issues

This year, my school had exactly one lockdown drill, back in September. We had one fire drill between January and April. Neither of those meet state regulations, and I was curious how they were going to fill out the reporting forms. We also had no photo IDs for staff members, just our magnetic door keys. Mine didn't even have my name on it; it had a long-gone staff member's name instead. While I was cleaning out my classroom this week, a specials teacher stopped by to chat. She told me that earlier this year, she found an exterior door to her classroom open when she arrived one morning. I'm sure there's more besides these examples.
 

apple annie

Senior Member
I would love to encourage parents to band together and opt their kids out of all standardized testing until every school is equipped with a state of the art security system and trained SRO's. The millions handed over to Pearson should be reallocated to student and staff safety. Then they should continue to opt out until some common sense gun laws are enacted.
 
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