|Guidelines for Classroom Safety Outside of the Institutional Setting|
|By Joe Bouchard|
I have been a corrections professional for about two decades. My tenure as an Adjunct Instructor is shorter, at thirteen and a half years. So, my experience in the prison has impacted my time teaching criminal justice and corrections concepts to community college students.
It is an understatement to say that the clientele in a maximum security setting are likely to be different than that of a classroom in a community college. Still, danger can come from within and from outside a classroom. I have applied some of the safety techniques from inside the walls to the classroom in the open society.
Note: If your institution of higher learning has provided operating procedures for safety, please review them and discuss expectations and responsibilities with your supervisor. What follows are my opinions and not necessarily those of my employer.
In your classroom, you set the tone and adjust the pace. For a few hours at a time, you foster interaction and create a unique learning experience. In many ways, it is your domain. Still, there are possible dangers over which you have no control. The mention of Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Newtown buttress this point.
The good news is that disaster is not inevitable. Of course, safety for your students, your colleagues, and yourself is as fundamental as a syllabus. Yet, it need not be complicated or overly regimented. You do not have to fall victim to procedural paralysis. Below are ten basic guidelines for classroom safety.
Naturally, not all corrections staff will agree with the list. We must account for different experiences and varied styles. Also, the tip about the telephone may not seem to apply in a specific sense. Still, radios and Personal Protection Devices could serve as substitutes to telephones to summon help while inside the walls. These are tips for classrooms outside of correctional facilities. The tips were developed with corrections fundamentals in mind but superimposed on classrooms outside of prison. Please refer to specific operating procedures and policy directives as provided by your employer.
These are the opinions of Joe Bouchard, a Librarian employed with the Michigan Department of Corrections. These are not necessarily the opinions of the Department. The MDOC is not responsible for the content or accuracy
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