Sunday school security may not be at the forefront of your mind when you send your child to religious class each week. But it should be a place where at least a basic safety plan is in place.
Depending on the facility, there may be fewer resources for actual security in Sunday schools. However, it's easy if you think of it as a general school or daycare. The same safety and security factors that are important in places such as schools matter in Sunday schools as well. To gather ideas, check with local school boards to see what sort of safety rules and security measures are in place.
Security on the Inside
Sunday school security starts on the inside, with the teachers and employees who work with children. Part of developing a great full church experience is making sure that patrons and their families feel safe. The best way to do this is to have a plan from the start to only hire or recruit the best of the best at your place of worship.
Once you have the best teachers and employees, they need to up-to-date on safety training, communication skills, and expertise in handling all emergency situations -- either man-made or natural disasters.
To make sure you get only the most skilled staff at your church and especially in the Sunday school, be sure to do background checks on all potential employees. Follow through on the interview process. Simply because someone is recommended by a trusted friend means little. Today and every day, the first responsibility of a Sunday school is to keep the children attending perfectly safe while they're under staff care. One of the best ways to make sure this happens is by checking references and completing background checks. You can learn more about how to complete a full background check at the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.
Don't forget that other adults frequent the church and Sunday school as well. Have a zero tolerance policy in place and make sure people know about it and follow it. Adults without children in the Sunday school program should not be visiting the class without the regular staff present.
Building safety of a church that houses a Sunday school program should be carefully planned to make sure all the bases are covered. Don't forget structure safety on the Sunday school playground either if there is one.
If doors leading into a Sunday school area do not lock while class is in session, then there should be plenty of staff so that there are enough to make sure no-one is coming or going who shouldn't be.
Other ideas include:
- Make sure that upper level windows securely fasten and that children cannot open them.
- Conduct bi-yearly to three-month fire alarm system checks.
- Obtain furniture that has rounded corners and is non-snagging.
- Child safe gates on stairs - both at the top and bottom to prevent falls.
- Securing all tall or heavy shelving to the wall. Even a stove can tip over and crush a child so consider the church kitchen if children frequent that area.
- Toys and play areas should be cleaned daily and kept orderly to avoid falls.
- Earthquake safety precautions
These are merely a few ideas for actual building and classroom safety and security. To see many more ideas read School Workshop Safety Rules.
Planning for Sunday School Security
One great place to start is at Church Law Today an online store with some good safety and planning information for the various ways to make Sunday schools a safe and enjoyable experience. For extremely reasonable costs you can download entire training packages surrounding all best security ideas tailored exactly to Sunday school security. There is an informative risk management page.
Some of the downloads you'll find include ideas for:
- Protecting the entire church from violence
- Safe check-ins and check-outs for parents of Sunday school students
- Transportation security issues such as what to do about field trip safety
- Safeguarding from fire
- Child sexual abuse response planning
- Computer safety
- Holiday specific safety
Planning for security and safety at Sunday school before issues arise is the best way to make sure that Sunday school is a joyful experience for everyone.
Further reading that will be useful includes:
- Grants for School Security
- Safe Outdoor School Games