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Dec 16 2013

School Security in the News

Category: Glass,Locks & Keys,News,School SecurityLori @ 8:21 am Comments (2)

If you search Google News for the words “school” and “security”, the search engine will return millions of results.  There are stories about many cities, states, and school districts working on plans and funding to increase the safety and security of their schools.  There are reports about incidents at schools, and products that may help improve security.  It’s tough to wade through it all.  The following articles address the topic with a slightly different focus.

This NBC News story shows that the improvements are proving effective at many schools, while others need further planning and implementation:

Newtown anniversary: NBC reporters gain access to some schools with ease – NBC News

This school district spent 5 million dollars on security upgrades.  How much did funding has your school district dedicated to securing schools?

Newtown anniversary: School in Chicago suburb leads the way in keeping kids safe – NBC News

This reporter entered 3 schools without permission, and is now being investigated for breaking a municipal law:

Police investigate Valley News Live reporter for hidden-camera story inside area elementary schools – Inforum

Moorhead Lt. Tory Jacobson said that after seeing the TV station’s report, the city’s police officers, who know it’s illegal to simply walk into a school, felt they had an obligation to investigate the reporter’s actions.

“The concern we had was that they were specifically doing something that wasn’t lawful,” Jacobson said.

In West Fargo and Fargo, the schools that the reporter entered have clearly posted signs that direct visitors to the main office, officials said. A message left for Moorhead school officials on Thursday was not returned.

At the Fargo school, the sign reads, “Welcome to our school. During regularly scheduled classes, all visitors must register at the main office. Failure to do so is a Class B misdemeanor and a violation of Fargo municipal code 10-0320.”

Here is the original story from this reporter.

Although we tend to focus on the mass-casualty incidents, there are some school shootings that don’t make the headlines:

The School Shootings You Didn’t Hear About—One Every Two Weeks Since Newtown – The Daily Beast

In the year since 20 first-graders were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, another school shooting has taken place in America every two weeks on average.

These events aren’t necessarily the types of tragedies that come to mind when one thinks of “school shootings”—madmen in fatigues roaming school hallways, strapped with automatic-style guns, murdering indiscriminately—nor do they receive the media attention of such mass shootings. But they can be similarly traumatizing for students and staff, and they have led to at least 24 injuries and 17 deaths over the past year, The Daily Beast has found.

This survey found some interesting results regarding parents’ impressions of school security:

Parents Say School Security Has Increased Since Newtown Massacre – NPR Blog

School Security StatsMost parents of elementary school-age children say their schools boosted security following last year’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., according to a poll from NPR in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.

The poll was the first national survey since the 1999 Columbine tragedy to ask parents how schools reacted to a mass shooting. It found that 62 percent of parents with children in kindergarten through grade 5 reported increased school security precautions. Fifty-seven percent of those with kids in grades 6-8 saw changes, while that number fell to 41 percent among parents of students in grades 9-12.

The NPR survey also found that 72 percent of parents in the U.S. say they believe their child’s school today is extremely or very safe. But that feeling of security is not shared by minority and low-income parents. Forty percent of African-American parents say their child’s school is somewhat, not very, or not at all safe.

Security window films, applied as a retrofit on existing glazing, may improve the security of glazing in schools:

Window Film Industry Shifts In Year Since Sandy Hook Shootings – Window Film Magazine

Officials from Eastman add that, for schools that find laminated glass retrofits too costly, security window films are a much more viable solution.

News about schools adding security film upgrades has been consistent throughout the year as well. According to a report out of Greenwich, Conn., by the Greenwich Times, the town’s school district recently approved $275,000 in improvements to the school, which includes window film. The report states that the initiative behind the funding was started as a result of Sandy Hook.

Several schools have held ballistics testing during the year to determine the most efficient form of security glazing for their buildings. The Shelton Herald in Shelton, Conn., reports that the local school board currently is seeking funding for security film installations following a series of tests.

If you see an article of interest, send me a link!  Thoughts on any of the articles above?  Leave a comment!

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2 Responses to “School Security in the News”

  1. Bill Cleary says:


    Since the last couple of school shootings I have been looking on line for ways students could as a last resort, stop a shooter. I have a particular interest in this as I have family of high school age. What is shown in the following link may not be applicable to any student of less than say junior high or high school age; however it may, just may help students and staff who are older.

    This link is to an in school shooting senario and the person showing the students how to react is Alon Stivi. The link is as follows:

    I just hope this may be of some help to others.

    BTW- I like your website. Some of the things you or others have posted are great for plant operations conversations at my place of work.

    Thank You,

    Bill Cleary

  2. Joe DeSisto, CFDAI says:

    The most practical solution is to allow an exception that would enable authorized persons (a teacher, for example) to temporarily secure a means of egress door, but only during a lockdown situation. Signage could be added to the door to indicate such an exception. In fact this would be following a methodology that is already in use: I’m sure we all have seen this sign…”This door must remain unlocked during business hours”. That signage is in place to allow one to secure a door during specific times…non-business hours (when a means of egress is not likely required due to no occupancy). It stands to reason then that we could follow the same method here – the only difference is “when” to lock the door; perhaps something to the effect of “This door must remain unlocked, except during LOCKDOWN “. Then of course, as part of the exception, there requires clear definition as to what constitutes a “lockdown”.

    In my belief, it is not practical to strive for variance on the determination of occupancy load calculation. For example, while I would agree that kindergarten rooms are generally larger than most, there are definitely times, as you have pointed out, when there are more than 50 people (parent night). However, that may not be the only exception. There could be times when the students from the next room are brought over for a group exercise or something similar. So there will always be the potential for unforeseen circumstances that could complicate any variance to occupancy.

    Regardless of the solution, it is obvious that this situation will rear its ugly head again and again. It needs to be addressed very quickly so there is a clear and uniform solution across the country that can be enforced to help ensure everyone’s safety.

    Great article Lori! As industry professionals, we should all continue to explore potential deficiencies and the potential solutions that correct them to the greatest degree possible.

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