With each day that goes by, an array of concerns continue to threaten the personal safety of students throughout the country.
As reports of these serious incidents continue to evolve, so does the demand for school security officers.
Yet, many educators and parents remain skeptical about the effectiveness of security officers in schools.
While they understand that school security professionals can protect students from a variety of external and internal threats, they still worry that the presence of security officers (especially those who are armed) on school property could make students feel anxious and distressed.
And if students are uneasy about their environment, it may negatively impact their learning and over school experience.
As this is a valid concern, it’s important that the modern school security offices’ professional responsibilities go beyond protecting students, staff and property.
To ensure that students truly feel safe in their schools, these security professionals must also build strong, trusting relationships with students, their parents, and school staff.
In the following article, we’ll discuss the importance of establishing and maintaining relationships between these security professionals and the school community they serve.
Why Is Building Trust With Students Important?
To explain why the need for meaningful relationships between school security and students is so important, let’s put things in perspective using a situation most adults understand: leaving a current employer.
While higher salaries and better advancement opportunities are two reasons many professionals leave their jobs, just as many pursue new opportunities because their current working conditions are less than satisfactory.
When professionals feel less comfortable and confident in a problematic work environment, their performance, productivity and general outlook suffer.
The same is true for students. If their everyday environment makes them feel uncomfortable and uneasy, their ability to learn and interact with their peers and instructors may be negatively affected. And having security officers on campus may contribute to these feelings and conditions.
Since some security professionals, such as prison guards, are tasked with managing the day-to-day activities of criminals, seeing uniformed security officers in the halls may make some children feel less like students and more like “prisoners”.
Instead of viewing the security officers as allies who are there to protect them from danger, students may view them as authority figures whose purpose is to punish them for bad behavior. These feelings may be intensified if a student has had a negative experience with an authority figure outside of school.
To alleviate these feelings of apprehension and distrust, school security officers need to build trust with the students.
Rather than establish an intimidating presence in the hallways and classrooms, school security professionals need to interact with students in a friendly manner. To do so, security officers need to greet students in an affable tone and show a genuine interest in their wellbeing.
By taking these types of measures, security professionals show students that they’re approachable. If a student has a question or concern, they should feel comfortable with approaching any security officer at any time.
Once these relationships are established, security officers may be more adept at identifying students who may be distressed or struggling with certain challenges. Then they can work with school counselors and support staff to provide these students with the best possible resources to help them.
Building good relationships with students also helps security professionals reduce or prevent potential safety issues. When students trust school security officers, they’re more inclined to report suspicious activities, safety concerns or possible threats. When this happens, security officers are able to take preemptive measures to prevent occurrences or reduce risks rather than always respond to emergencies proactively.
Why Is Building Trust With Parents Important?
While building good relationships with students is vital to the success of school security programs, it’s equally important to gain the trust of their parents, too.
When parents are confident in the safety measures that are in place at their child’s school, they’re more likely to support and trust the security officers. In turn, they’ll feel less apprehensive and more comfortable about sending their children to a school with security officers on site.
However, if parents do not have any positive interactions with the security officers or are kept in the dark about various school security issues, they may become reluctant to send their children to school.
School security officers can establish the necessary trust with parents by being fully transparent and communicative about the security and safety measures currently in place at their child’s school. To provide this level of transparency and communication, security officers should be available to answer parents’ questions, effectively announce and explain any new security protocols before they are implemented, and above all, be receptive and responsive to feedback from parents and family members.
By building a positive and transparent relationship with parents, security officers are able to establish a sense of trust within the school community.
Why Is Building Trust With School Staff Important?
As they will be working side-by-side with various teachers, administrators and staff, it’s crucial for security officers to form tight-knit connections with every member of the internal school community.
Just like the security officers, school faculty play a vital role in the students’ safety. That being the case, faculty and security staff need to effectively communicate and collaborate with each other to ensure that all established safety and security measures perform optimally.
By forming these relationships, school security officers gain a deeper understanding of the unique challenges of the faculty – and vice versa, Therefore, they’re better prepared to work together to follow the existing security and safety procedures and policies as well as develop new ones.
Learn How To Build These Connections From School Security Experts
While the primary job of security officers in schools is to protect students, it takes more than knowing the best defensive tactics to do so.
Cardinal Point Security Group’s training and education courses not only focus on protection techniques, they also teach school security officers how to better communicate with students, parents and staff so they can form more meaningful relationships that enhance their protective services.
If you’re ready to learn how to be the best school security professional you can be, contact our team today to learn more about educational courses and training opportunities.