Safety Tips for School Events

Following the brutal gang rape of a student following a dance at a California high school, it looked like a similar incident happened across the country in Florida. There, a 15-year-old girl claimed to have been raped by four male students during a football game on campus. Later the girl admitted the sex was consensual.

But here are two cases in a month – on opposite coasts – where security failed. What could have been differently? We asked Patrick Fiel, public safety advisor for ADT, how he handled security for on-campus events when he was head of security for Washington (D.C.) Public Schools.

“It takes a mixture a low-tech methods and electronic security technology, along with a lot of planning and proper execution of a plan,” he said.

Fiel listed some tips that would help schools to provide better security before, during and after athletic events, dances, concerts and other afterschool activities.

• Create a plan that provides security for the entire campus. Don’t overlook little-used or remote areas that provide an ideal place for rapes, fights, drug deals or other criminal behavior.

• Extra lighting can discourage people from using these areas as hiding places or staging areas for crime.

• Security personnel or screened volunteers need to regularly patrol the entire campus before, during and immediately after an event. Be sure to work closely with local law enforcement and request extra officers be made available at the event and for patrolling the parking lots and immediate area surrounding the campus. Also, check for individuals loitering and suspicious vehicles.

• Fencing can limit the number of entries to a stadium. Open only one door for entry into a gymnasium. Have security personnel view students as they enter and remove those that are obviously under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Also, once students leave an event, they should not be allowed to return.

• Trained personnel can use metal detectors – both hand-held wands and walk-through devices –to check students for weapons as they enter an event • Indoor and outdoor security cameras should focus on the parking lots, the stadium and gymnasium entries and perimeters and the ticket office and snack bar. During events, make sure school personnel, law enforcement or a professional security company is monitoring the video. And if there is a crime committed on campus, recorded video can help identify suspects and prosecute offenders.

“There are no guarantees that administrators can stop all crime related to after-school events.” Fiel said. “But there are steps that can greatly reduce the chances of serious problems. Lets all work together to keep our children safe

-- PSW Staff