The security of schools is an extremely important one that cannot be overemphasized, particularly with the various disturbing news of students and teachers kidnapping. The recent abduction of seven (7) students and one (1) teacher from Prince Academy in Damba- Kasaya Village in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State in the midst of battling COVID-19 and the economic downturn is a very disturbing situation, which brings to bare the urgent need to tackle insecurity in schools and educational institutions.
There is an increasing need for security systems and law enforcement/ emergency responders tailored to preventing or responding to school and educational institution based violence or emergency.
The absence of particular attention to this not only puts the students and teachers at great risk, it is a threat to national unity and economic growth, as funds to be invested in other aspects of the economy get redirected to education. Also, the fear of getting sexually exploited at school or getting kidnapped on the way to school stands as a hindrance to some getting an education, particularly in the rural areas.
The saddening case of the rape of a 2 year old female student of Chrisland School, Lekki by the male supervisor in the school and his eventual conviction by the High Court of Lagos State and the confirmation of this conviction by the Court of Appeal, is an indicator of why the protection of student is of paramount importance and should be a national issue.
Below are some of the importance of providing school security:
- There is the need for physical security guards at school to slow down the causalities in the event of an emergency and this is knowing that school children are not quick to reach safety without professional guidance or direction.
- Ensure children are not walking alone, especially in lonely places within the school or during hours they should be occupied.
- For students who are to be collected by parents, sibling or driver, such must always be reconfirmed, to ensure kidnappers or sexual predators do not impersonate them or lie.
- There is the need to gather trail or evidence, while also monitoring, thus the need to install Closed Circuit Television (CCTV).
- The presence of deterrence to criminals.
- Aid in dispersing crowds in the event of bullying, assaults and disorderly behaviour while ensuring the culprits are brought to book.
- Helps create a sense of safety in the hearts of students and teachers.
- Having a well- drawn security plan would aid in emergency response, evacuation and ascertainment of all persons within the premises and this makes rescue easy.
- Prevent the infiltration of weapons and other unlawful equipment.
- Reduced crime rate, violence etc. in schools can eventually reduce insurance claims, law suits, riots etc. and this saves cost.
- The installation of panic alarms to alert the police, fire alarm to the firefighting service can help shorten the time in getting emergency response on site.
- They help give a clear view of the situation, persons involved, exact location and what exactly is happening and this can be done by CCTV and other surveillance systems.
- Give a general overview of the entire campus or school premises and get real time feedback.
- Increases the feeling of safety of all stakeholders.
- It is a fundamental human right: Security is a basic human need and for students to feel motivated, inspired to achieve their educational goal, they must feel safe and secure at all time. Security is tied to various rights provided for in the 1999 Constitution Of The Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and they include:
- Right To Life (Section 33)
- Right To Dignity Of Human Persons (Section 34)
- Right To Personal Liberty (Section 35)
- Right To Freedom Of Thought, Conscience And Religion (Section 38)
- Right To Peaceful Assembly And Association (Section 40)
- Right To Freedom Of Movement (Section 41)
- It facilitates learning: only students who are at peace and feel safe can learn and only parents who feel their wards are safe at school will allow them go.
- It improves quality of education, as there is no fear of disruption in the hearts of the teachers.
From the above, it apparent that the need for school security cannot be overemphasized and should be a subject of national discourse. In fact, it should be a national emergency. A nation without well-educated and knowledgeable youths is at the risk of ruins.
From the expose above, the importance of having a well-planned school security system has even greater advantages that disadvantages, including its cost efficiency. It must therefore be taken as a priority.