National School Safety and Security Services’ strongly believes that the design of a school and its surrounding campus can play a significant role in preventing crime and facilitating school safety measures.
School officials involved in designing new school facilities or remodeling school sites may wish to consider steps including:
1. Insist on being involved in the design process. Work with architects and construction personnel in the early stages to provide input on how the school design can help improve supervision and safety.
2. Carefully consider the placement of common areas, sites used extensively for after-hours events (such as gyms, auditoriums, cafeterias, and libraries), and other key locations to help control access, limit use requiring movement and open access to all areas of the school in the evening, etc.
3. Review parking areas, traffic flow, and pick-up/drop-off placement and related factors to best facilitate safe movement and supervision.
4. Consider the importance of “line of sight” in hallways and other areas requiring supervision.
5. Explore restroom design so that sink areas can be placed outside of the actual restrooms to enhance adult supervision and reduce bullying, horseplay, and other misbehaviors.
6. Take into consideration opportunities for natural surveillance and supervision by placing areas of greater activity or higher risk in areas where there will be higher levels of adult supervision.
7. Examine main entranceway design options for secured vestibules and other visitor management considerations.
8. Involve your school security officials, School Resource Officers, and/or outside school safety specialists in the planning and design of new or remodeled facilities. Their perspectives may provide very different, but valuable, insights.
For additional information on our “Safe Schools by Design” presentations addressing the above and related areas, email Ken Trump.