When people talk school security, you usually hear of building access control systems for lockdowns, implementing visitor management processes, and even adding cameras to record common areas in the school (playgrounds, entrances, hallways, lunch areas, etc.). But if Chicago is right, one of the best things that can be done to protect students doesn't even occur on the school grounds.
Here's what NPR wrote, in its report about a novel program to boost student safety:
"One of the most dangerous times of day for teenagers is after school, and that's especially true in the gang-infested neighborhoods of Chicago, where police and school officials are using federal stimulus funds to try to better protect kids on their way to and from school through a program called Safe Passage."
Not only do they boost security at school exits, but they even do airborne and vehicle surveillance of common homeward routes for students. It's a novel approach, and one from which I think many school districts could benefit.
As a side note, NPR has been doing stories all this week about youth violence, and here are two other recommendations for good reads on school security: "Creating Calm in Chicago's Schools" and "Getting to Chicago's Boys Before Gangs Do."