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Mar 14 2016

WWYD? School Security Bill

Category: School Security,WWYD?Lori @ 11:35 pm Comments (5)
Photo: State.NJ.US

Photo: State.NJ.US

Several states have introduced school security bills in recent legislative sessions, but none of them (so far) have addressed all of the physical security required to keep students and teachers safe at school.  When a comprehensive school security bill becomes state law, it’s very likely that it will be duplicated in other states.

New Jersey Assembly Bill 3348 is the best I’ve seen yet, but does it go far enough?  The current text of the bill can be accessed here, and this is a synopsis from the Security Industry Association’s State and Local Policy Subcommittee:


Requires certain school security measures to be incorporated in architectural design of new school construction and certain school security measures for existing buildings.

Noteworthy Sections:

In the case of new school construction undertaken by a district or the development authority…..shall provide in the architectural design for the new construction:

(7)   interior door locks on spaces that will serve as safe havens during lockdowns shall have a keyless locking mechanism;

(8)   new school buildings shall be provided with access control systems which allow for remote locking and unlocking of all building access doors; and

In the case of new school construction undertaken by a district or the development authority, and in the case of existing school buildings, a district or the development authority, as applicable, shall:

(8) utilize an access control system with remote unlocking features, an intercom, and fixed cameras at the school’s main entrance and for other entrances as funding permits;

(16) use surveillance cameras as a target-hardening tool;

(17) provide a dedicated server and generator for security systems, such as access control and surveillance cameras, in order to secure information and ensure efficient operation in an emergency;

(18) use ballistic or shatter resistant film for glass entrance door sidelights and other vulnerable first floor areas;


02/22/2016 Introduced, Referred to Assembly Education Committee
03/03/2016 Reported out of Assembly Comm. with Amendments, 2nd Reading

Remember…these requirements could eventually be incorporated into your state’s school security legislation.  What additions or changes would you like to see?

5 Responses to “WWYD? School Security Bill”

  1. Cda says:

    1. Does not seem to speak to exiting the building.

    2. Would maybe more doors and not less be a better answer, as in ground floor rooms have additional exit to the outside.

    3. How is all this stuff going to be maintained. Maybe put in besides the school district inspection, third party every so often.

    Just seems like a lot of money spent in some wrong places

  2. Mark Lineberger says:

    I guess part of the good news, it requires a minimum level of budgeting/spending to be included for security instead of being cut. The trend seems to be a little less in the cutting direction, but most spending continues to be in the years AFTER construction is completed. The bad news…this is a long way from comprehensive. There’s nothing regarding the use of TDLDs which makes #7 problematic. The other thing that bugs me is the lack of definitions which goes partially to intent for most of the items listed in the legislation. To me, they’re looking at systems which will have some IT infrastructure involved, yet they say nothing regarding network security – physical or electronic. Do you think the legislative avenue was chosen instead of the code amendment route so it could be more definitive and expeditious?

  3. Joel Niemi says:

    #17 could be a bit more general on the power supply side. That is, “uninterruptable power supply with ## hours operating time”. This would allow battery-based UPS. Otherwise, if it’s “emergency” and not “standby”, the cost of the generator and periodic inspections of the generator will add up fast.

  4. Jerry Richmond AHC/CDC says:

    Item 7 the term “keyless locking mechanism”.
    Any door locked by a thumb-turn, for example, and not key controlled by staff, is just opening the door (no pun intended) for internal (student generated) acts of intimidation, bullying, and physical altercations. A safe haven should be just that, and, we pray, a rarity. A safe haven should not be an easy tool used to the advantage of a student with bad intentions. Keep classrooms and “safe havens” key controlled by trained and regimented staff.

  5. Gretchen Knoblock says:

    My first issue is that Politicians should not be creating building codes. That is why we have government agencies employing thousands of people with taxpayer money, who look at new construction building codes and fire safety codes. I don’t believe in legislating security requirements, just as I disagreed with politically motivated legislation allowing barricades which thereby violating well thought out, and established safety and fire codes.

    Secondly, I believe that each school district should be required to have a comprehensive physical plant security plan; along with, and equally as important, a student mental health security plan. These plans should not be solely based on an active shooter, but encompass overall security and safety. This is not covered by IBC or NFPA. So it may possibly be an issue addressed in legislature.

    Thirdly, I believe politicians should LEGISLATE insistance on code compliance. Should we make IBC law? Or NFPA law? I guess that’s something to think about. One change I would offer up for consideration is to require that LOCAL AHJ’s (local fire inspectors) be responsible for school inspections to uphold the existing building (specifically door) codes, security and fire safety codes on older school buildings. These AHJ’s could be the overseeing entity that gathers all of the safety inspections, including elevators, fire extinguishers, sprinklers, AND INSIST ON NFPA 80 GUIDELINES FOR ANNUAL ***FIRE DOOR/ACCESS CONTROL DOOR INSPECTIONS.

    Why create a new inspection? Because trained Fire Door Inspectors learn the IBC codes pertaining to all doors along with NFPA codes.

    NFPA 80 and IBC facility egress codes are ignored by State Fire Marshalls, local fire inspectors, school administrators and politicians. And let’s face it, access control and door security is THE major portion of any facility security.

    If annual security door inspections were performed by trained and code knowledgeable professionals who would supply the local AHJ’s with written, comprehensive safety and security checks, this would ensure schools are up to code in areas of main entrances, classroom door security, fire door safety, access control lockdown, and all mechanical locking mechanisms would be working. And as an added bonus, if door sweeps and weatherstripping was maintained annually, it would save school districts in energy consumption costs too.

    Respectfully submitted,
    Gretchen Knoblock

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