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Schools should create student contracts in the classroom and develop device-usage guidelines that clarify “good behaviors.” (Gettyimages.com: jesadphorn).

Nearly 30 percent of U.S. high school students admitted to using a connected device to cheat on a classroom exam or project, according to a recent survey.

Lockdown drills can pose health hazards, says Dennis Lewis, president of Edu-Safe, a safety training firm.

Lewis, who spent 17 years as the public safety director for Springfield Public Schools in Missouri, shares the following best practices:

Connect instruction to safety. Rigid, step-by-step drills don’t encourage critical thinking, discussion or variations. Educators can develop lessons that, for example, encourage students to think about wider safety issues and teamwork.

Across the country, schools are weighing the pros and cons of practicing worst-case scenario drills without unduly traumatizing students, staff and the community.

Laura Carno is the founder and executive director of FasterColorado.com, an organization that provides firearms training to school staff who are authorized as armed first responders. Deborah Gordon Klehr is the executive director of the Education Law Center in Pennsylvania.

As more states consider allowing staff to be armed in the classroom, we present two perspectives.

Ariel Siegelman is a security expert and founder of Draco Group, which specializes in school security. 

The world of security can be daunting. Security tools and technologies are often expensive, and school leaders are not typically trained to know what will offer their institutions the greatest benefit.

Since 2013, 156 shootings had rattled nerves, and had injured or killed students and staff members in both K12 schools and colleges.

Mass shootings in the United States have tripled since 2011, according to Harvard University researchers. And as of late October, 29 shootings took place in K12 schools this year.

Since 2013, 156 shootings had rattled nerves, and had injured or killed students and staff members in both K12 schools and colleges, according to the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. In some cases, a gun was fired but no one was injured, the group reports.

Ken Donovan, facilities/security manager at Stonington Public Schools in Connecticut, shows off a school’s lockdown emergency button. When pushed, the button will lock the doors, bar access to other floors, issue an audible warning that an intruder is present and alert to local police cruisers.

School administrators across the country are turning to portable panic buttons, cloud-based crisis management systems and other technology in the search for new ways to keep students and staff safe. The price tag can run from a few thousand dollars to well into six figures, but administrators say the cost is worth it.

Rural Saco School District is located off Highway 2 in northeastern Montana. The highway and nearby train put the district’s 50-student school at greater risk for intruders, Superintendent Gordon Hahn says.

Superintendents in rural districts across America are increasingly making the controversial choice to carry a concealed weapon at school, in order to protect students from potential threats.

Students are safer in schools, like the one above, that have Data Management Inc.’s Visitor Pass Solutions Software. It gathers updated data on all visitors.

School visitors are no longer just writing their names in a notebook when they sign in. Districts are now scanning fingerprints and eyes to check if a visitor or contractor has a criminal record. The new methods not only provide background checks, but can also track how many times someone has visited a school.

KeepNTrack software scans each visitor’s driver’s license and runs a check through a sexual predator database for all 50 states.

Administrators at Brevard County Public Schools in Florida have enhanced security this school year with a new system that automatically runs sexual predator checks on all visitors and streamlines the process for volunteers.

A bookkeeper’s calm demeanor in talking down an armed intruder saved her suburban Atlanta school from experiencing another potential Sandy Hook tragedy on Aug. 20.

When upgrading security, can districts afford to wait the weeks or months the purchasing process sometimes takes? A widely available but not very well-known funding option can speed things up.

We know there is a sense of urgency around funding safer schools—just think about the title of President Obama’s school safety plan: Now is the Time! The good news is that for district leaders who are willing to explore a new purchasing method, time and cost savings may be on the way.

Newtown Public Schools Superintendent Janet Robinson gives a news briefing last January about Monroe’s Chalk Hill School, where the Sandy Hook Elementary School children are continuing their education this school year.

Last December, the small town of Newtown, Conn., was forever changed. The students, staff, parents, and community members of Newtown (Conn.) Public Schools were traumatized on Dec. 14, 2012, when lone gunman and former student Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Small and medium-sized districts have unique challenges in establishing ongoing technology sustainability. However, even with limited funds and staff, it is possible for schools to have maximum functionality and ease of management with the latest technology products available. In this web seminar, originally broadcast on February 26, 2013, an IT manager from the Hamilton Heights (Ind.) School District shared how his school system was able to implement the Wi-Fi capabilities of a much larger district with a much smaller budget.

In the months following the Sandy Hook massacre, schools nationwide stepped up efforts to provide safe environments for teachers and students, and many turned to high-tech solutions.

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