Another school shooting occurred in Alabama yesterday. And more will continue because the current state of school security remains sub-par. School security is currently fragmented due to lack of specifications and requirements.
I personally have visited almost every school system in the state. Schools have the vendor contacts in regards to security options and providers. SRO’s are at almost every school. Most schools have safety or security plans in the form of virtual plans from companies like Nside. The schools I have visited have cameras, most have locks, and most have visitor management systems.
Adding cameras, locks and visitor management systems in schools are excellent security measures. But even with these measures in place, none follow a common set of standards and methods regarding their implementation or use in an emergency situation. Standardized school security plans would allow schools to adopt and implement common practices to increase campus security that leverage the knowledge of security experts. This allows schools focus less on security planning and execution and more on what it was designed to do, teach.
Fire Safety – The Model for School Security
According to the NFPA, the last time more than 10 children died in a school fire was 1954. This is an amazing statistic. One death, let alone multiple, is unacceptable and processes should be put in place to prevent fires. Fast forward over 60 years later and fire safety initiatives have performed tremendously. When was the last time you heard about a child dying in a school fire?
Normally I am the last person for regulations, especially with government involvement. But fire safety improved in schools and businesses by local, county, and state fire officials working together to adopt requirements for everyone to follow. The government relied on the professionals in the fire industry to lead this charge. The same thing needs to happen in school security. Just like every school has a fire safety plan, we also need school security plans that are standardized and easy to implement.
Key Components of School Security Plans
- Have a safety team in place, with key stakeholders invested. Regular training and drills
- Agape Tactical is a great company that trains schools on how to deal with and prevent active shooters
- A safety plan and school blueprint in an electronic format. With this school officials, safety teams, and emergency responders are in tight coordination.
Nsideis a leader here. This safety plan needs to include a mass notification system to be on every campus in the state.
- Armed and trained safety resource officers. NASRO is a good resource to find good and qualified officers.
- Traffic flow down to one entrance and one exit. Examine and check bags for weapons. The use of metal detectors is encouraged.
- Require a background check on all visitors. Companies like Raptor do this really well.
- Arm all entrance, exit, staff and event doors with cloud-based access control. Companies like Driven do this really well. Cloud-based systems allow for remote visibility and control of the doors.
- Arm all key areas of facilities with video cameras. Companies like Eagle Eye, Verkada and others do this really well.
- Protect areas of glass around entrances, exits, administrative offices with security laminate. This way glass cannot be shot through or broken until authorities arrive. Companies like Ever Safe USA do this effectively.
Path Forward Options for Politicians and Code Enforcement to Consider
- Require each school system in the state to drill for safety quarterly, with an approved tactical training company
- Require each school to have at least five
cloud basedlocks on each school campus. Insist with code that these locks can be remotely accessed and integrate with the video cameras on site.
- Require that each school have their cameras and locks integrate into the electronic safety plan required by the state.
- Require that each school
haveballistic laminate, so resource officers are not left unprotected by someone simply breaking glass with their fist.
- Require that each school have visitor management / mass notification systems that background check all visitors and alert authorities to a crisis in progress.
- Require that security money spent by taxpayers is used for security and nothing else. Not servicing debt or obtaining new technology.
Standardizing school security plans across many school systems will take years to implement at a local, state and federal level. But at some point in the future it will happen, just like it did with fire safety. How long will we wait for many more deaths to occur until a standard is adopted and implemented?