Why adequate supervision is critical to good school safety

Posted by on December 26, 2011

A female is allegedly raped in a gym restroom.  A student is assaulted in a hallway during class change.  A stranger is found in an elementary school restroom.

The first question raised by parents, the media and perhaps eventually lawyers is: “Was supervision adequate?”

The answer to that question must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.  But it is a valid question.

My colleagues and I often say the key to good school safety is supervision, supervision and supervision!

Back in October of 2011, a news story in Tampa reported on an alleged rape in a high school.  The story headline read: In wake of reported rape, Hillsborough schools reviewing routines and security.

What specific routines and security?  Certainly “supervision” would be one of those, one would hope.

Critics often question the presence of security officers and school resource officers (SROs or school police as they are often called).  These critics frequently misunderstand the role of the officers, focusing on incidences of arrests instead of the preventative role safety officials play in student supervision.

Whether it is monitoring hallways, bus loading and unloading areas, cafeterias, or other common areas, school safety staff along with school administrators play a vital role in supervising areas where students travel during their school day.  The value of a teacher’s presence in hallways during class change or while doing a check of restrooms during class time can be significant.

Just like the importance of supervision by parents at home, supervision by educators and school safety staff plays a critical role in having good school safety.

Are adults visible and actively supervising students at your school?

Ken Trump

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