Survey: Teachers Want More Emergency Planning, Security Technology To Help Maintain Safety

With more than 53 million students going back to school, a national survey released recently shows that more than one out of 10 teachers believe their school is unprepared to protect kids. The results are part of the second annual ADT Back-to-School Survey conducted by Zogby International.

Asked for reasons to explain how they felt, four in 10 of those teachers said their school was not doing enough to help protect students, while three in 10 said they believed their school is vulnerable to an attack by outside predators. Other frequently mentioned concerns included:

  • Worry that students would bring a weapon onto the campus -- 24 percent.
  • Students being involved with street gangs -- 12 percent.
  • Worry about violence happening in other schools -- 12 percent.
  • Not enough awareness of dangers to students on campus -- 10 percent.

According to Patrick Fiel, public safety advisor for ADT Security Services, campus violence is a national concern for teachers in both rural and urban areas.

"As shown by the recent murder of a beloved high school football coach at a small town in Iowa or an assault by a student on a Philadelphia teacher, school violence is truly a national problem that affects all school districts," Fiel said. "One of the keys to success is creating a dialogue between parents, teachers and administrators to create solutions for this growing problem."

Overall, three in four of the teachers surveyed said their schools were at least somewhat prepared to protect students on the campus.

More than half of those teachers said their school has an awareness of potential dangers and security measures in place to handle them. Asked what security measures their campuses employ, the teachers most frequently mentioned:

  • Visitor check-in -- 90 percent.
  • Visitor identification badges -- 80 percent.
  • Video cameras -- 57 percent.
  • Police officers on campus -- 32 percent.
  • Alarmed doors -- 32 percent.
  • Security guards on campus -- 28 percent.
  • Computerized visitor identification systems -- 12 percent.

"When I travel around the country and talk with teachers, they consistently tell me about how much they welcome additional security planning and technology," Fiel said.

Mary Liz Singleton, who has more than 30 years of experience as a teacher and principal in Texas and Tennessee, said she always made the safety of her students a top priority. That led to one of her high schools being named the safest in her Texas region.

"When it came to the safety of my students, if I had a choice in my budget for another vice principal or cameras throughout my campus, I'd chose the technology," she said. "Teachers can't teach and students can't learn if they are not in a safe environment."

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