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Guidelines for Dealing With Threats to Security

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Following are suggestions from the National School Safety Center, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and security experts on how to plan for school emergencies and cope with potential security threats:

Principals need to acquire "crime-resistance savvy" and take greater responsibility for developing their own security programs.

"What is needed is a comprehensive disaster plan, worked out in cooperation with those various agencies in the community that the school would inescapably have to turn to if a disaster did in fact occur," says the naesp

Principals should "consult the literature" on school security and seek guidance from qualified security consultants.

Principals should form a "school security committee or task force," including not only staff members but students and parents, charged with analyzing the school's degree of security and developing emergency-preparedness policies.

Local police should be consulted to establish an emergency communication system, such as a hot line or two-way radio, to speed response time.

School officials should consider fencing and landscaping techniques that shield outdoor areas and limit access to school grounds to one entrance.

Outdoor perimeters should be monitored while outside activities are in progress.

Parents and community members should be utilized to help patrol campuses and keep watch in neighboring areas.

Access to school buildings should be tightly controlled through a single visitor entrance monitored by a receptionist or security officer.

Visitors and students should be asked to wear identification tags at all times while on campus.

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