Now that most schools are back in full swing, administrators need a proactive approach to security. The safety and lives of the people attending and working in the school building depend upon it.
Proper planning is the way to prevention. To shed light on safety strengths and weaknesses, security assessments must be conducted.
There is a fine line between thinking a building is secure and knowing it is secure. The only way to know that a school campus or building is safe is to conduct a physical assessment by or with a security expert.
Below is a list of questions to consider when determining whether a school is physically secure:
- Do security camera placements cover the entire property, or are there blind spots within the system?
- Are students and visitors being correctly admitted into the building?
- Are all locks fully functioning and engaged on windows, doors, and closets?
- Do all electronics for all access points work properly?
- Does all the technology work together? For example, do your hardware, software, and cameras all support each other?
- Do you have a list of all security technologies, including the make, model, serial number, and warranty period? This type of assessment will often determine that the hardware is so old that current software can’t support it. Or there is no place to fix it if it malfunctions.
- Have you assessed the sporting venues, school bus garages, or shared areas around the school for security issues?
After a total physical assessment has been conducted, it is essential to pinpoint where security is lacking. In addition, it’s necessary to do this on an annual basis.
Turn to professionals who know what to look for and how to address gaps in security. Listed below are key areas to focus on when flushing out security weaknesses:
- Ensure all personnel is trained on established safety protocols and procedures (i.e., zero tolerance for propping open doors or admitting visitors without checking ID)
- Conduct drills for active shooter situations in addition to environmental threats
- Interview all staff to ensure the people flow is controlled, including students, teachers, office personnel, visitors, and vendors, to ensure bullying and sexual harassment don’t happen.
Once physical and vulnerability assessments are completed, security professionals will make the appropriate recommendations. This does not always include adding more cameras or technology; it might be related to the enforcement of procedures or developing new ones.
By ensuring the right people are involved when determining the safety of students and staff, your school will be as secure as possible. SchoolSafety.gov is an excellent resource to keep your school safe on an ongoing basis, including threat assessment and reporting resources.
Potential Safety and Security Measures
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, US schools provide the following:
95% have a written code of school conduct
90% have a requirement that visitors sign in and wear a visitor’s badge
88% require school staff or volunteers to supervise hallways (this is in addition to security personnel)
84% have one or more security cameras installed
79% have locked entrances and exits during the day
71% have hired security guards
70% require faculty and staff to wear picture badges
49% enforce a strict dress code
48% do regular locker checks
24% require students to wear badges
10% have metal detectors
Yet, active shooters remain. Fights break out. Bullying happens. Which means there are unintended security coverage gaps. The longer these gaps remain open, the higher the likelihood these problems will remain. Five percent of 6-8th grade students will avoid areas of vulnerability, even if it means staying home or using a restroom that isn’t convenient for them. That number is higher for female students.
Need a Physical Security and Vulnerability Assessment for your School?
SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc. can conduct security assessments for your campus and school. Please fill out our contact form or call 330-255-1101 to speak with one of our security specialists today!