School Safety and Crisis Planning Considerations for School Psychologists

By Conolly-Wilson, Christina; Reeves, Melissa | National Association of School Psychologists. Communique, March/April 2013 | Go to article overview

School Safety and Crisis Planning Considerations for School Psychologists


Conolly-Wilson, Christina, Reeves, Melissa, National Association of School Psychologists. Communique


In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, people across the country are asking if schools in their communities are safe. School psychologists not only play a pivotal role in answering that question, but they can also provide leadership in helping to ensure a safe school climate. A critical component to answering the safety question is finding a balance of both physical and psychological safety measures. A reliance solely on metal detectors, x-ray machines, and cameras underestimates what is needed for schools to be safe and can miss undercurrents negatively impacting school safety. However, a reliance solely on the attitude of "my school feels safe" can miss critical safety measures needed to limit accessibility and opportunity. Thus, both physical and psychological safety are critical to a comprehensive safe-school approach.

The information in this article was developed from the PREPaRE School Crisis Prevention and Intervention Training Curriculum. The reader is referred to additional resources at the end of this article for a broader consideration of this topic.

PHYSICAL SAFETY MEASURES

Below are some areas to consider when answering the school safety question from a physical safety standpoint.

Naturalaccess control Schools must have systems in place to monitor who comes in and out of the school building and has access throughout the school. All exterior doors should be closed and locked during school hours. There should be only one access point into the building for visitors and it should provide easy access into the visitor screening area of the building. If the entrance where visitors enter is open during school hours, school staff or the school resource officer should monitor it. In addition, all areas inside of the school building (e.g., classrooms, gymnasiums, locker rooms, utility/custodial closets, offices) should be locked if no one is in those areas.

Natural surveillance. Schools must monitor visitor, staff, and student activities that occur inside and outside of the school building. All visitors should be screened and provided a visitor ID, with the visitor ID badge being returned before the visitor leaves. Remember, your visitor screening procedures are only as effective as the consistency with which they are implemented. All staff should wear a staff ID and if they see someone in the building without a staff or visitor ID, that person should be escorted to the main office. Natural surveillance also includes having cameras, metal detectors, x-ray machines, and school resource officers to monitor individuals as they are entering and moving around the building.

PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY MEASURES

Below are some areas to consider when answering the school safety question from a psychological safety standpoint.

Positive school environment. When a school has a friendly and a positive environment, students are more inclined to behave in school and to not have disciplinary problems. Developing a positive behavior support system establishes the foundation for a positive school environment. This leads to increased student-school-teacher connectedness, which has been shown to be correlated with increased academic achievement, and establishes a culture of trust so students and adults communicate concerns to school leadership.

Territoriality. When students and staff feel connected to school, they gain a sense that the school is their school. They gain a sense of pride and they do not want others harming the school. Students who have a sense of territoriality are more likely to monitor each other's behavior and to report student misbehavior to adults in the building. Schools can have murals, student artwork, and posters promoting school-wide expectations around the building to promote a sense of territoriality. A confidential reporting system is also critical to ensuring anonymity when reporting and helping to break the code of silence.

Collaboration. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

School Safety and Crisis Planning Considerations for School Psychologists
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.