Improving School Security to Prevent Tragedy from Striking
School shootings are tragic events which highlight the need to create solutions which can prevent more attacks. Ensuring adequate school security measures are in place is vital to the safety and security of students and school staff.
Schools need to be proactive in preventing such tragedies from happening in the future. There is no simple solution, and threat profiles will vary between schools.
However, there are necessary steps which can be followed to harden schools against the threat of violence and keep students, teachers, and administrators safe from harm.
Securing the Classroom
Most classrooms have windows allowing an easy visual inside. Because large groups of students are challenging to move quickly, there should be an easy way to block all views into the classroom and prevent an attacker from locating an easy target.
Doors should be lockable from the inside with a mechanism that is sturdy enough to resist gunfire. It should also be straightforward and quick to lock.
Another strategy to “toughen up the classroom” would be to implement a plan to educate teachers, students, and administrators on methods they can use to fight off an attacker. Of course, this system will need to be adjusted accordingly to accommodate the age of the students and teachers and objects which are accessible in the classroom.
Tighter Control of Access to the School
People who are not part of the school or don’t belong there must have their access denied. Limiting access is even more critical if a person is trying to gain entry while carrying weapons.
Denying entry to all but one or two locations will help, but these locations will always need to be closely monitored while school is in session. The personnel monitoring the access points should also be trained in methods they can use to deny access to non-authorized people or those who pose a threat.
Access control can be a delicate subject. Parents who see security points at schools often come to the mistaken conclusion that a school is unsafe, instead of seeing it as a solution to increasing security and the safety of their children.
Education and a sensitive approach are needed to convince parents and students that it is an essential strategy. If the last few years have taught us anything, it is that all schools are a potential target for violence.
Improved Incident Response
Law enforcement will always respond to a threat as fast as they can. However, due to the time delay between law enforcement getting the call, and then for them to be on-site, tragedy has already struck.
Violence can happen extremely quickly, and the perpetrator can have wrought their destructive influence and left the scene in the 3 or 4 minutes it takes law enforcement to get there and set up a perimeter.
Schools need the capacity to be able to react immediately to any threat. The only way to ensure this capability is always to have a threat response team on site during school hours.
Many schools have already started improving school security by implementing the above strategies and many more. But, if we are to prevent attacks from happening anywhere, then they need to be implemented in every school across the country.