With the rise of attempted robberies at schools in Gauteng, the issue of our children’s safety has been question by many parents, placing school’s security systems in the spotlight.
A robbery turned violent at Edenvale High School where shots left two people dead and one severely injured. At Menzi Primary, a multi-million rand institution in Ekurhuleni, thousands of rands worth of equipment was stolen. A burglary also left the Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa Secondary School running scared.
Charnel Hatting, Fidelity ADT’s National Marketing and Communications Manager, stated in an interview that schools should try to keep as little as possible cash on the property. However, high-value items, such as computers and lab equipment, make these institutions perfect targets.
Keeping that in mind, schools need to not only think of how to secure the premises to avoid a break-in, but also to prepare the staff and students how to act in the case of an emergency.
Perimeter and entry security personnel should be the first priority for schools.
Hatting ads that perimeter security officers should be assigned as your first line of defense.
Schools should also invest in a good alarm system, including panic buttons in various locations. Some locations should include: the finance department, entry security booth, reception and under desks in classrooms.
Regular safety drills should be conducted to ensure that all staff and students are aware of the protocol during an emergency situation.
Another tool that schools should look at are CCTV cameras. These are a great asset in abduction cases, or missing children incidents. They can assist in identifying the situation as well as the perpetrator responsible.
Parents play a big role in their children’s safety during pick-ups and drop offs. When dropping your child off at school, ensure that they have entered the premises safely before driving off. On picking them up again after school, ask them to wait inside a secure area until you arrive.
In the case that you cannot collect your child from school yourself, and you did not arrange it with them beforehand, try to call them or implement a password system to ensure that your child knows that whomever can recite the password can be trusted and has been asked by you to collect them.
During school holidays, not all parents have the freedom of taking leave to stay at home with their children and in some cases children are left home alone. In this instance, you should ensure that your child is aware of safety procedures put in place to keep them safe. Ensure that they know to keep all gates and doors locked and to not open for anyone unless noted by you otherwise.
Keep a list of emergency and important numbers close to the phone and ensure that they know when and how to use them. Numbers could include, your and your spouses work numbers, the police or security company, a neighbour or relative who lives close-by. Ensure that they know how to use the security system and how to signal an alarm in case of an emergency.
Our children are our future. So keep them safe by educating them on their own safety.