Parents, students and the general public have become increasingly concerned about security in schools as they hear more and more reports of violence in the classroom. According to research from the Washington Post, people have good reasons to worry. There have been more school shootings in 2018 than any year since 1999.
The subject becomes even more concerning when you learn that the United States doesn’t have a reliable way of confirming and tracking gunshots in schools.
People do, however, know one thing: schools need better physical security strategies to keep children and teachers safe. Some of the following ideas could help school districts reach that goal.
Control who enters schools
Many schools already use metal detectors to prevent guns and other weapons from entering schools. Not all of them, however, have methods that determine whether students entering the school belong there.
Choosing more intensive access point technologies that require ID cards or other forms of physical identification could improve security in schools by keeping unauthorized people out.
Improved access point technologies could also make school events, like football games, more secure. The more control the school has over who gains access to the building and grounds, the easier it is to prevent deaths.
Install cameras to improve security in schools
Businesses often use security cameras to lower their insurance premiums, improve productivity and prevent crimes from taking place on company property. Schools need to realize that they can also benefit from installing more cameras.
When people know that they’re on camera, they’re less likely to commit violent crimes. Even adult criminals often decide to stop once they realize the cameras are watching.
Adding security cameras not only helps save lives but gives schools physical evidence when they suspect wrongdoing. For instance, if student X says that student Y has been bullying her, surveillance footage can help prove or disprove the allegation. With this undeniable evidence, schools can remove risky students before their behavior escalates.
Use intrusion detection services for early warnings
Cameras and badges can cut down on violence in schools and potentially save lives. A determined person, however, will find a way into the building. That’s why schools need intrusion detection services that can locate trespassers, alert teachers to the person’s presence and contact local authorities so they can assess the situation and prevent violence.
Add panic rooms to schools
Sometimes the simplest ideas work best. Consider how Egyptian ruler Amenhotep III protected his burial room. The designers created a room that looked suitable enough for a tomb. But they also included a false wall. Anyone who penetrated the false wall would find a hallway leading to the king’s true resting place.
Schools can use a similar concept by adding secret panic rooms to their buildings. If an active shooter enters the school, teachers could lead their students to panic rooms designed to hide them.
Adding secret rooms would require expensive construction that many school districts won’t want to pay for. Even if the older buildings are left as is, plans for new schools could include panic rooms. Installing the rooms wouldn’t add a significant cost to the overall construction project.
People have proposed a lot of ways to improve security in schools. Some want to add more armed police officers to schools. Some even want teachers to carry firearms. Before adopting such an extreme ideas, it makes sense for schools to try physical security concepts that have worked well in other places.