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The Need for Smart Solutions to School Safety Issues

Written by ANT Telecom | 4 May 2017

Working in a managerial role in a school inevitably involves a substantial degree of health and safety related planning. Manual checks, though necessary, can work much better when supported by technological solutions. The automated communication systems provided by ANT are a fantastic way to add an extra layer of safety to your school's operations.


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The problem of school violence

Statistics show that in 2014, incidents of school violence exceeded 30, 000. Since that year, they have been rising around 4% per annum. Violence can occur between students, and it can also be directed against teachers by students and parents alike. In fact, data from spring 2017 has indicated that teacher safety in the workplace is at an all time low. In addition, accidents can occur in the sports field or the chemistry labs that require urgent assistance. Health and safety concerns are particularly acute when a teacher is classified as a lone worker. A lone worker can be defined as any employee who is not supported in person by the presence of another employee. Though they may be surrounded by a class full of students, many teachers are classified as lone workers due to the fact that they are the only employee in the room. Without their fellow employees on hand to assist them immediately in times of need, lone workers are in particular need of remote warning systems in the event of accidents and incidents of violence. Are the health and safety systems that your school already has in place sufficient for dealing with emergencies?

Typical violent scenarios that occur in schools

Violence can happen at any time and in any place in a school. Frequently, such violence is perpetrated by students and directed at teachers in the classroom. An average class size involves around 30 students, and if one or more students attempt to physically intimidate a teacher, the teacher can be left feeling powerless and unable to call for help. If a tense or violent situation is brewing in the classroom, teachers can often hesitate to leave the room to get support in case violence erupts in their absence. Glass windows in classrooms go some way to make it easier for teachers to check up on their colleagues on a regular basis. However, more reliable levels of safety and security are provided by remote warning and communication systems. Another type of violence that is, unfortunately, common in school environments is perpetrated by parents against teachers. This can happen during parents evenings or private meetings with parents, particularly when (as the desire for confidentiality demands), such meetings take place one on one, in a small and private room. If a parent becomes upset by a teacher's comments about their child, they can become abusive and violent. Again, a remote communication system will provide much needed security in these situations, particularly if the teacher has been working alone. Violent threats can also be posed by external intruders entering the school premises. Moreover, teachers may need to raise the alarm when they are on a field trip, or taking a sports team to an away game. Other personnel on and off the school premises who will benefit from a way of raising alarms immediately in the case of a violent incident include school liaison officers who visit pupils in their own homes, and cleaning and maintenance staff who often work on the school premises before and after official school hours (and thus, at times when there are fewer colleagues around to support them.

What can a remote monitoring and communication system do for your school?

Such a system will provide you with great peace of mind. You will be able to check in with your colleagues remotely to ensure that they are safe in the classroom, sports field, or any other working environment. In addition, colleagues will be able to use the system to call for support in the event of a violent, or potentially violent, incident. This involves calling for backup from other colleagues.  The system will also automatically log all alerts: this is vital for ensuring that you maintain accurate records and also for providing useful data for the HSE in the event of an investigation. . Far from fostering a climate of fear, these remote monitoring and warning systems will enable teachers and other personnel on the premises to work with confidence, safe in the knowledge that immediate backup is just a click or button-press away. Making students and parents aware that such systems are in place will also likely reduce incidents of violence. This is because students, parents and intruders tend to attack  teachers because they perceive them to be vulnerable. Once they are aware that  all staff has immediate support at hand at all times, they will be less likely to act in a violent or abusive manner.

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Topics: Schools, Health and Safety

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