by Bobby Brasher
Right now, our faculty and staff are navigating the uncharted areas of a virtual school. But, those of us in school safety have our eyes looking to the future and the challenges we will encounter once everything resumes back to normal.
School opening in the fall will be a fresh, exciting time as we transition back into the different areas of traditional school settings. For those of us in security, we must be aware of the potential problems and challenges coming off the quarantine. We must alert and educate our administrations and staff.
We have parents whose children came home the Saturday of spring break, then in a theoretical split second, were thrust into the role of home educators on Monday. Many parents have full-time jobs and are not equipped for being teachers, counselors, school nurses, principals, and tutors. A significant segment of our parents are untrained and unable to provide the structure and learning environment for one or maybe several children in different grades, much less doing this while also trying to work or under the stress of a job layoff. Now more than ever, we need to be aware of the social and psychological problems that will potentially arise as a result of the current stay at home orders.
These problems can be anything from neglect and abuse in home situations to those students allowed unmonitored internet access. Students have gone from a structured school day environment with supervision and guidance from educators to a home situation where parents may not be present or they unprepared to manage the schedule and pressures of being a school teacher.
Sociologist and counselors are seeing a huge spike in divorce since the time of the pandemic quarantine. Also, many states are seeing high numbers of physical and verbal abuse cases. Many parents are feeling the stress of job loss, financial hardships and uncertainty. Self-medication with drugs and alcohol is on the rise, and our teachers need to be alerted and trained for these factors before students arrive back in their classrooms. The negative repercussions from this pandemic quarantine can be potential triggers for the next wave of school shootings and violence.
My team and I have produced a staff in-service program titled “Situational Awareness and Student Behavioral Analysis.” The basic components come from the FBI (Behavior Analysis Unit) and the Secret Service as they identify individuals who are threats. They help identify and profile individuals in a crisis that show signs of instability, loneliness, helplessness, and isolation. I have presented this information to our teachers, staff, maintenance, custodians, and administrators.
I am happy to help answer your questions or provide you with guidance as we navigate this ongoing situation and prepare for the stay at home order to be lifted.