Budgets are a sensitive, and stressful, topic in the world of schools. Just about everything comes with a price - from campus security systems to additional staff members. That's why budgeting is a difficult task for the business office. The business office must analyze return on investment for each and every purchase, to ensure it is the right decision for the school. The good news is that there are ways to improve school environments, and to put everyone's minds at ease, without ever worrying about ROI. How? By trying these four ways to invest in student safety. The best part is they are totally and completely free.
#1: Form a Safety Committee
There is a reason humans don't live in isolation: We need each other's help. If you work in the business office, you know this to be especially true - nothing would get done without help from your colleagues. So, put this truth to the ultimate test be delegating key tasks, like improving school safety, to a qualified and trusted group of staff members. This Safety Committee can help everyone rest assured that the school is constantly working to reduce liability and create a safe environment for your students. This committee is tasked with:
- Identifying potential safety risks
- Developing solutions to safety risks
- Meeting on a regular basis (we like the idea of once-per-month)
SMR user bonus: The Safety Committee won't need to worry about emergency contact notification planning.
#2: Schedule a 60-minute safety meeting with school staff
This may be one of the most important meetings you schedule all year. Why? Because preparation is everything when it comes to school emergencies and student safety at school. Getting staff members together at the beginning of the year sets high expectations across the board. After all, you can never plan when an emergency will happen, but you can plan to be prepared for it. In this meeting, you can review:
- Emergency response plans
- Accident/injury reporting protocols
- OSHA standards
- Anti-bullying efforts
SMR user bonus: Use this time to train staff members to use Magnus Mobile.
#3: Document everything, properly
Whether "Student A" gets a nosebleed during a chemistry experiment, or "Student B" gets a concussion during a soccer game, school staff members should be aware of, and knowledgeable about, the protocol for accidents and injuries of every kind. Not only does this ensure that students receive better care, but it also reduces the school's liability. By tightening up standards to document each instance - and adhering to OSHA protocols for K-14 schools - parents and administrators can be confident that students will remain safe at school.
SMR user bonus: Use pre-filled treatment notes in your health center to aid in standardization of injury reports.
#4: Mix up your fire drills
... or tornado drills, or lock down drills (really, any type of emergency drill). In real world situations, emergencies aren't black and white. For example, during a real fire, would staff members know what to do if an emergency door is blocked? Would students know what to do during an earthquake if there aren't enough desks to huddle under? Chances are, these examples would cause confusion, and jeopardize student safety, which nobody wants. To alleviate everyone's chances of being unprepared, try brainstorming real-world problems to add to your drills.
These four tips to improve and invest in student safety will require a small amount of your time and brain energy, but they won't drain the school's budget. In times when school safety concerns are rising, you can stay on top of the game by investing in student safety by using the resources already available to you. For more ways to improve your school's safety plans, emergency response, and disaster preparedness, discover our free resource on those vital topics.
Except where otherwise noted, the resource for this article's content is the Practical Guidance for Independent School Business Operations, published by the National Business Officers Association.