Just as schools across the country were winding up both for the year and the Yuletide break, the tragic news of Sylvester Oromoni, the 12-year-old student at Dowen College broke out, sending shivers down the spine of so many schools, especially the boarding schools, jolting authorities who had been slack with security measures.
There is no gainsaying that, in this part of the world, most schools play down unjustifiably on security. You might want to spare them the blushes, however, when you consider that even the government themselves are not one who has been responsible in this regard.
Still, that does not validate the irresponsibility on the part of schools to put the right security measures in place to secure the lives of not only the youngsters in their custody, but even the staff, non-staff and parents or guardians – who frequent the school for diverse objectives. I for one assert that the first goal of every school in Nigeria is security. If we were to have a government responsible and competent in its intrinsic responsibility of protection, then this goal won’t be paramount for schools. But reality is what it is, and we can’t afford to shy away from that. As such, in this light, it is behooving on schools to take up the gauntlet to secure the lives of everyone and every property within its territory. No one learns peacefully in a school where a student was kidnapped. Everyone becomes paranoid in a school where a student died of food poisoning. Staff of schools have their lives hanging when one of their colleagues was mercilessly beaten to stupor last week. Security births peace. Peace, in turn, births a learning environment, and definitely every school longs for a learning environment. But this longing does not equate practice unfortunately as not every school knows how or even commits to birthing a learning environment.
Security cannot be detached from schools, and in the light of all that has happened with the Oromoni’s case, schools who still think security does not matter will have themselves to blame at the end of the day.
As a security expert, for schools resuming to academic activities, here are some security measures to commit to putting in place to ensure you have a fluid and effective academic session in your shared societal responsibilities to shape our young ones for political and socio-economic impacts while giving staff and non-staff alike the satisfaction that should come from being stakeholders in a school environment.
Install CCTV in all Nooks and Crannies of the School Premises
CCTV ensures that no activity goes uncaptured. There is a limit to what the human eyes can see. Tiredness gets in the way, distractions pop up here and there, but with CCTV in place, it complements the human efforts to track security threats in the school environment. The footages from the camera as well are more convincing than human reports in security issues.
The School Compound should be Fenced and Gated
To properly secure children who tend to always move around indiscreetly, it is important that the school is fenced and there is a gate to it. This way, movements get to be restricted and known to the school authorities.
In addition to this, there should be restriction on some areas students are supposed to go to and not go to. Unused rooms should be properly locked up and only opened when being used so as to avoid students taking advantage of secluded spaces for untoward activities.
There should be Security Guards stationed at the School Gate
A school serious about securing the lives of students should have security guards manning the school gate so there can be a proper and organized monitoring of who goes out and comes in to the school.
Boarding Schools: The Security Guards at the Gate should not be relied on alone
While it is important to have guards stationed at the gate for security therein, that is not all there is to securing lives and properties in a school, especially boarding schools.
Boarding schools should take to the practice of having house parents that frequent the hostels of boarders to ensure that they are abreast of happenings with them. These house parents should take up the role of parenting such that they are not just there to police the boarders but are there to be their friends that they can talk to about anything and everything, taking care of their needs. They should be parents to these students and should ensure that the students are comfortable having them around and communicating with them. Their performance should however be evaluated periodically to ascertain their effectiveness.
Along with this, boarding schools need to have a foot patrol team that occasionally patrols the nooks and crannies of the school to ensure the safety of everyone therein. The presence of a functioning patrol team will serve as a deterrent to any vices intending to be perpetrated within the school.
Both the Staff and the Non-Staff should see themselves as Security Agents
The truth remains that the job of security is interdependent other than independent. Each and every one of us is expedient to how secure we are. Moreso, when in an environment with children, the responsibility becomes more on the adults regardless of who they are and what posts they hold.
In a school, every stakeholder should be a security agent. The staff, the non-staff, even the parents and guardians should all be on the lookout for the security of the students and one another. There is a limit to what the security guards can do. But when everyone comes together to put their hands on the deck of security, we achieve a robust result.
Clearance should be given to any visitor before entering the School Premises
For everyone intending to gain entrance into the school, they should obtain clearance from the gate before being let into the school premises. This is in a bid to ensure that the number of people who enter the school are screened properly and effectively for safety.
Students and Workers should always be in possession of their ID Cards
The ID card plus other modes of identification should be issued by the school authority to the students. This is to make sure that every member of the school is accounted for.
Only the Parents of Students or Someone duly assigned should be allowed to pick-up Students from the School
The school management is expected to give a standing order, stipulating that only the parents or the person the parents have identified should be the one to pick up the students at school. We have seen cases whereby strangers pose to be family relatives and come pick up kids from school, and the school later discover that it has been tricked. To help forestall such from happening, schools are always advised to ensure that parents, when they are not coming to pick their children, identify who would come pick the children at school. Except that, on no account should a school release the children to anyone.
Central Security Alarm should be installed in the School Premises
It is just right that the school should have a central unit alarm system installed in the school premises. This is so that students and employees can be alerted to run for their lives when the alarm goes off, indicating that something has gone wrong somewhere.
Students’ bags should be searched regularly to prevent them from bringing in dangerous weapons into the School
Schools, oftentimes, ignore this. But as we have seen in recent cases, students sometimes smuggle dangerous weapons into the school through their bags. To ensure that whatever intentional or unintentional motive they have in mind is forestalled, there should be a thorough search of the bags of students before they are granted entrance into the school. This is to ensure that everyone in the school premises is protected from harm.
Students activities should be strictly monitored to avoid them from joining Cults
Teachers and non-teaching staff of the school are expected to be observant of children to ensure that they don’t engage in untoward activities in any cranny or nook of the school during school hours. Children could be very tricky especially when they are in groups, so getting them monitored becomes imperative for every stakeholder in the school. They should not be left all alone, unattended to. Observation must be at an all-time high.
Students should be encouraged to report to the School Management any
Suspicious Move or Person within the School Premises
Part of the ways to ensure the security of everyone in the school, children inclusive, the school management needs to encourage the students to report any malicious move they detect within and even outside the school premises. Suspicious move and the various forms they do come could be shown to them via illustrations or videos, so they can be able to detect them when such present themselves, and ultimately, report to the school authority.
Students should only be allowed to leave the School Premises only when they have a Pass from the Security Post
On no account should students be given access to leave the school without “exit passes” handed down to them. The school should be abreast of movement in and out of the school – this is one way to checkmate such.
People should be discouraged from loitering or parking their cars outside the School Fence
Most schools also often don’t consider this, allowing people to loiter outside the school fence, and even park their cars. There should be a standing law restricting the parking of vehicles and the loitering of people outside the school fence. Via this measure, one is able to keep tabs properly without much distraction on the activities going on.
Security Panel Community should be set up in Schools to review Security Policies from time to time
Schools should ensure that they have security panels that look into the security issues in the school and proffer solutions to solving them. The panels should constitute of experts in security matters so as to have quality outputs from that end.
Students Should Be Trained On Security-Related Subjects
Part of the school curriculum should be a subject that teaches the students on how to be security-conscious and security-uptight.
Schools should organize Peace and Security Conference
From the foregoing, you will reckon that you can hardly detach security from school. As such, to ensure that schools function effectively, it is wise that from time to time, they organize Peace and Security Conference where professionals in the peace and security sector will sit in a panel of speakers with professionals in the education sector to see how the two sectors can continue to function together for better results. Aside from this being a good image-promoting event for the school, it cements the school as a contributor to societal development.
Dr. O.E Bassey is a Peace and Security Expert with decades of experience in the practice and promotion of Law Enforcement, Peace and Security through the Nigeria Police and the United Nations.
He is also an advocate of Peace Leadership and Child Protection.
He has served and interacted at the top level management of the Nigeria Police and internationally as a United Nation’s Monitor/Mentor in Kosovo, Europe.
He is a certified United Nation’s Trainer, and currently the Director of ICOF Institute of Leadership, Peace and Conflict Resolution in Africa.
He is the President, NISSI Safety Management Institute: An Institute of Peace Leadership and Human Security.
For security tips, consultations and trainings, reach him via:
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