School security systems, procedures and even security guards are some of the last things many students, parents and teachers think about, until they need them. As with all controversial topics, there are both advantages and disadvantages to having school security in place. These pros and cons vary according to the type of security your local school officials have implemented.
Emergency Planning and Evacuation
School evacuation and emergency planning measures can be put into action during many types of events. The evacuation plan that the pupils are taught to follow in the event of a serious situation, such as a gunman in the school, can also be put into place and carried out in the event of an unexpected natural disaster, such as a tornado or hurricane. These evacuation procedures are definite advantages to school security systems and may save the life of a child, teacher or even a parent if these extreme situations were to occur.
Security Cameras: Cons
Security cameras placed throughout the school and on the school grounds are a controversial topic between schools, parents, students and law enforcement officials. The negative side of security cameras is the possible invasion of privacy, dependent upon where the cameras are placed. Laws are implemented on state and local levels concerning surveillance equipment at schools.
Security Cameras: Pros
The advantage of security cameras on school grounds is that being present and visible, would-be wrongdoers are often deterred by the fear of being caught on camera. In the event of a security situation within the school, any cameras placed in the building may help law enforcement officials know exactly where the disturbance is located, where a lost child is or the safest point of entry/exit for evacuation and/or search strategies.
Metal Detectors: Cons
Metal detectors are often set up at the main student entrance to a school that has implemented security measures. Especially in large schools, stopping at a metal detector, emptying pockets and allowing backpacks to be searched may lead to students being late for classes. Metal detectors may become an inconvenience to the students, parents and even the school faculty. Furthermore, it is controversial because searching students', teachers' and parents' belongings is a possible invasion of privacy.
Metal Detectors: Pros
Without metal detectors, it would be near impossible for a person to get a gun or large knife into the school. An individual who would have otherwise carried a violent weapon into the school will not do so knowing they will have to go through a metal detector.
School budgets are often stretched to the very limit. Implementing a security system can be very costly, financially speaking. Installation of systems and routine maintenance of these systems may be the biggest reason schools do not elect to implement security measures. However, over time, schools may actually save money by implementing security systems. Reduced crime within the school may help to reduce insurance premiums, reduce insurance claims and allow the school faculty to focus on its job rather than deterring school violence and crime.