At a time when students and teachers face more threats than ever in schools, reducing the risks associated with in-school violence is a major fiscal, legal and moral challenge for school officials.
According to the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS), schools face an array of challenges; from parental custody issues to gangs and drugs related crimes—more of which are listed in our article: How-to balance stakeholders and budget when introducing new safety solutions
In the Digital Age, Schools are vulnerable to Cyber-attacks, with new figures showing that 20% of education establishments have been targeted in the past 2 years. Many schools, either independently or working with law enforcement and private security have plans in place to deal with a range of threats.
The challenge for school security chiefs is to pull these pieces into a usable format that provides a guide for current and future security teams, including ways to train staff on new procedures.
A risk assessment is the first step toward developing a comprehensive security plan. This involves defining the criticality and vulnerability of the asset being protected and then determining the likelihood of an incident occurring. Determining criticality and vulnerability are relatively straightforward missions, but the concept of probability can be more difficult.
Determining probability involves an experienced review of trends, which requires collecting data from a variety of public and private sources. The key to assessing this data is to begin locally, on the campus, and then proceed to national trends.
It’s essential to note that there is no way to predict incident reliability – the aim of a security chief undertaking this should be to identify trends that might indicate an increasing probability of a particular risk.
The following can be used as a tool to help security staff determine the probability of an incident occurring:
- Campus: Review incident report trends for at least 36 months
- Locale and city: Review crime data from local law enforcement for the surrounding neighborhood and city
- Screening procedures: How is hiring conducted? While employees are generally screened for criminal records and drug use, are vendors, and contractors screened at the same level?
- Anonymous tip lines: Enabling students, staff members, parents, and the community to alert administrators to perceived and actual threats anonymously can help identify an incident probability
- Social media monitoring: In an era when social media has been used to orchestrate social unrest and attacks, such tracking can provide important information that can be utilized to identify risks
Schools need to know how to responsibly manage the risk that comes with the type of technologies that they employ, integrating appropriate measures into their training.
Security Chiefs should instill policies that employees must agree to, before being given a network login, to reduce internal violations.
Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) – An AUP stipulates the constraints and practices that an employee using IT assets must agree to, to access the corporate network. Employees should be given an AUP to read and sign before being granted a network ID.
Access Control Policy (ACP) – The ACP outlines the access available to employees concerning an organization’s data and information systems. This includes access control and user access standards, as well as how unattended workstations should be secured and how access is removed when an employee leaves the organization.
When training staff on new security procedures there is no ‘crystal ball,’ and risk assessment and mitigation can never be risk elimination. With the right training and technology, risks can be reduced, and schools made safer within an ongoing process.
Every school has different challenges. If you’re looking for new ways to protect your campus, Sabre can help. Call us at 212-974-1700 or book a free consultation here.
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