Due to increasing school tragedies, fires just being one of them, teachers and administrators need ideas on how to improve students’ safety in schools. There has been a concern by the government and other education stakeholders for the need to improve security and safety for our learners.
Many countries have employed different approaches to safety. The approaches were dictated by the type of tragedies they experienced. United States of America for example, have had more serious insecurity cases as compared to Kenya. For instance, school shootings heightened their attention to providing a safe school environment for both the students and teachers. In an attempt to counter this, the schools were recommended to soften their approach by improving the emotional health of individuals.
Causes of Unsafe School Environments in Kenya
Increased cases of suicides, clearly indicate a mentally unstable population in dire need of intervention. Kenya has not yet had raging lunatics play target practice with students, but who is to say with complete certainty this would not happen in the future? Most of these cases may not only be caused by mental health issues, but also the fact that schools pose as easy targets for terrorist attacks, which we have had over the past few years.
It is not so long ago that the Garissa-attack happened and so people should always be on high alert, most especially schools should try to get ahead of these incidences before they even happen. Preventive measures are the only solution for mass casualties experienced in these attacks. Students themselves also pose a threat to school safety. In 2016 Kenya experienced a wave of arson in a number of schools over illegal access of national examination papers.
It is natural to try and forget the worst moments in our lives; for most people, this is how they cope with the tragedy. But for this case, we might as well not get too comfortable and forget the existing threat.
Here are some of the ways on how to improve on school safety:
1. Tackle Students’ Mental Problems.
The Kenyan school curriculum puts a lot of emphasis on the core studies and a little effort is focused on the students’ mental health. Anyone who has undergone the system can attest to poor relationships between students and the staff in schools. Most people hated their teachers and any existing forms of authority. This may just be the cause for retaliation among students convinced that they need to be heard and that everything is fashioned to work against them. The school should take out time from their daily activities to instill discipline among students, also provide guidance on how they can best handle their frustrations. This will help de-escalate cases of arson in schools.
2. Set-Up Effective Communication Systems.
A lot of incidences go unreported. A good communication system may allow unsuspecting students to report such cases when need be so that proper action can be taken to expose the perpetrators. Communication is important for any crisis situation and disaster aversion strategies.
3. Improving General Safety in Schools.
Schools should improve the security at the gates by equipping the security staff with the necessary tools such as metal detectors, CCTV cameras, and other devices. Some security threats can be tackled at the gate and prevention can be achieved.
Schools have never been desirable for the majority, especially for those who had to start boarding early. Regardless of these opinions schools have been relatively safe in Kenya over the years and adopting these measures will help maintain safety in schools around the country.