Parents are sending their kids back to school with fears they never imagined during their own childhood. No longer are traditional bullies and playground safety their chief concerns. School shootings have become a horrific threat on campuses – not a new danger (the first reported U.S. incident came in 1764) - but a disturbingly growing trend since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999.
Last year’s Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, which left 20 children and six adults dead, showed us that extreme school violence isn’t restricted to high school and college campuses. Last month, images from the Sandy Hook tragedy were rekindled by a Georgia elementary school bookkeeper’s heroic efforts to calm an armed gunman who entered the building and eventually surrendered without anyone being harmed.
In the private security sector, home automation technology is giving parents more knowledge about their kids’ whereabouts after school. Smartphone alerts say whether they returned home at a scheduled time. At any time, they can access video of activity in and around the home.
Unfortunately, parental peace of mind doesn’t extend to school grounds. However, In-school security measures are on the rise. According to USA Today, security upgrades at the state level include classroom door locks, monitored cameras and more secure building entrances. A handful of states have taken larger action by allowing local districts to decide whether to arm a trained school official or volunteer on campus.
Parents can’t protect their children in the classroom, but they can stay up to date with their school’s safety strategy. As a home security provider, companies should strongly consider sharing these types of general safety information with their customers.
About.com offers several suggestions to parents:
• Requesting school information about lockdown and other safety drills
• Doing their own research at their state’s Department of Education website
• If the proper procedures aren’t in place, contact their school district or state Department of Education
• Ensuring at home that their children understand how to perform such safety drills