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School Security: How Safe Is The Nigerian Learning Environment?

By Kemi Bababusuyi
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The protection of lives and property is beyond the four walls of your house or business. To protect your life and that of your loved ones, you cannot rely on home security or business security alone. The protection of lives and properties must also include public places, such as schools.

School security and safety is an extremely important issue, especially in light of recent kidnappings and Boko Haram threats in the country. School officials and administrators should begin to take a pro-active approach to their schools' safety through a variety of different tools and methods that analyze potential risks.

Keeping a school secure and safe is a very important task that should not be taken lightly. There are many ways to increase safety of schools and minimize risks of attacks and other dangers. The importance of having a safe and secure learning environment for the academic development of Nigerian students cannot be overemphasized.

The Importance of School Security
Education they say is the best legacy. In this article, I want to further emphasize this need to keep Nigerian schools safe from the ever increasing menace sweeping across the country. If we fail as parents, government, and as a society in general to protect the learning environment for the Nigerian child, then I'm afraid, there is no future for this country.

Below are some very obvious reasons why the safety of Nigerian schools should no longer be treated as a luxury, but as a necessity.

• It's a fundamental HUMAN right
Security is a basic human need. Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs arranged human psychological needs with the understanding that people are incapable of paying attention to higher level needs when lower level needs remain unmet. The lower level needs include food, shelter and safety. The upper level growth needs include the need to understand, which motivates students to learn. So, for a school to achieve its educational mission, it is important for it to make students feel safe and secure. Depriving students of a safe and secure learning environment is simply denying them of their fundamental human right!

• Prevent Terrorism
The news of Boko Haram is the fastest spreading news in the country. Today they are bombing churches and other notable public places, tomorrow it could be schools. Terrorism at schools may seem a far-fetched notion to some, but it is possibility that cannot be ignored. The primary goal of terrorism is the widespread of fear. Schools are a prime target for causing such public fear. So it's very crucial for schools to start planning for such an event, regardless of its perceived likelihood.

As we've always emphasized; the best form of security is prevention. School security plays a pivotal role in alerting officials to suspicious people or behaviors in or around school grounds and monitoring those entering school buildings. Additional school security such as cameras and ID systems may prove critical in preventing such situations. In the event of a terrorist attack, school security measures will help in formulating emergency exit plans for students and teachers in the building.

• Facilitate Learning
Schools cannot teach students who don't come to school. If a student feels that being in the classroom is a risk, that student is unlikely to come to school. No parent wants to send their kids to learn in a threatening environment. In other words, the presence of fear makes learning impossible. Fear is a big hindrance to learning. School security is important as it relates to students and their ability to concentrate and learn. Learning requires a positive atmosphere in which students feel not just physically safe, but emotionally safe as well. Creating such an environment means ensuring student safety throughout the school day and keeping experiences free from both physical violence and social or emotional violence.

• Improve Quality Of Education
As fear hinders a student's ability to learn, so does it also affect a teacher's capacity to impact knowledge. The resultant effect of both cases is a decline in the overall quality of education. Teachers who fear for their physical safety can't concentrate on teaching, nor do they want to teach in such environments. Students then lack the qualified teachers needed for them to succeed academically. Proper school security includes ensuring the safety and well-being of teachers and school administrators so that they can safely and effectively carry out their jobs of impacting knowledge.

• Avoid Legal Issues And Financial Losses
This is particularly directed to the school administrators and owners. Schools that fail to keep students safe while they are in their care are only inviting legal and financial risk. Historically, the law defines the relationship between schools and students as "in loco parentis," which is Latin for "in the place of the parents." Meaning that schools are legally bound to protect students to the best of their ability when in session. Schools can be held liable if students are injured due to security negligence. To guard against such liability, it is important for schools to have security measures in place. So, school security becomes important to schools and school officials not just on a personal level but on financial and legal levels, as well.

From the above, the need for school security should no longer be a debate but a matter of priority. There is so much at stake personally, legally, financially, economically and even nationally. It is no longer sufficient to promote only your homes and businesses. The protection of the Nigerian learning environments must also be given adequate attention. Dangers, threats and risks are no respecter of persons or places –beware!

As a forward looking security company, Damog Nigeria Limited is ready to work with as many public and private schools to ensure the safety of the students in their custody. This includes all levels of education from the Nursery level up to the tertiary level. You can contact us today for a free consultation.

Your turn
What's your view about the need for safety in our Nigerian learning environments?

Have you personally experienced any life threatening event in any of the Nigerian schools?

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