Most often, talk about securing campuses centers around protecting the students. And that’s how it should be–the children are least able provide for their own safety.
But there are times that we have to remember that we need to keep the faculty and staff safe as well. They also have a right to expect working conditions that don’t jeopardize their physical well being.
I recently read about a New York area French teacher who found a 14-year-old student cheating on a test. The teacher had school security personnel escort the student to the office. Within a few minutes, he was back in the classroom sitting in his seat. As the teacher left the room to again get security, he was followed by the student, who allegedly beat the teacher, leaving him with a concussion and other injuries.
There are two easy steps that could have been taken to prevent an attack like this one. First, security could have kept control of the student until the class was completed. Second, classroom doors should be locked to the outside once class begins. That would have kept the student from re-entering.
And then I hope the school had cameras to record the beating so that authorities have a clear record of what happened. If the student is guilty as charged, and video would likely show if he was, then he no longer has any business attending that school.
Patrick Fiel is public safety advisor for ADT Security Services and a former executive director of school security for Washington, D.C. Public School System. He also served 22 years in the Army Military Police Corps, where his responsibilities included day-to-day security operations at the West Point Military Academy. During his time with ADT, Fiel has conducted more than 100 television, radio, newspaper, and magazine interviews as a public and school safety expert.
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