School safety has always been a concern for educators as well as parents, but a rise in on-campus attacks has made protecting students, teachers, and administrators more of a priority than ever before. No discussion about school security would be complete without discussing physical improvements that can be made to existing buildings.
Whether you’re an administrator, an educator, or a concerned parent looking for ideas to share with your local community, consider the difference these four campus security improvements can make.
- Strengthen Outside Barriers
If you spend your entire day inside a classroom or administrative office, you may not know if or where there are external weaknesses in your facility’s security. One way to improve this large-scale area is to consult with local law enforcement or security authorities and to conduct a campus review of the perimeter. Minimizing access points greatly reduces potential tragedy, so consider installing or upgrading fences, so they can’t be climbed or cut, and eliminate any objects or greenery that can make it easier for someone to enter school grounds unnoticed.
- Shine a Light on Campus
You can’t protect students if you can’t see every area of the campus. Interior stairwells, restrooms, and passageways that are dimly lit provide ample opportunity for someone to hide undetected. Eliminate the possibility of someone lying in wait by ensuring that all lighting is functioning properly and installing additional lighting in vulnerable areas, if needed.
- Upgrade Classroom Locks with Technology
From an outsider’s perspective, locking down a school during a threat sounds like a seamless process. Unfortunately, that assumption is far from true. In an emergency, teachers often need to exit the classroom in order to lock the door. This requires them to find the key, which may not be immediately accessible, and to secure the door from the outside, which puts them in harm’s way. Access control systems that automatically lock the doors at the push of a button are a worthwhile investment. When considering this option, make sure the doors can still be unlocked manually from inside the classroom, so they will comply with fire codes.
- Fortify Windows and Glass Doors
One attractive architectural feature is particularly problematic for school safety, and that’s glass. Windows can easily be broken, and large plate glass windows are frequently compromised to gain entry, especially those located next to locked doors. Short of removing a feature that provides ample natural lighting and makes the learning environment more pleasant, schools should consider reinforcing glass doors and windows with 3MTM Safety & Security Window Film. Sunray® has installed this patented product in educational facilities throughout Northeast Ohio, including Willoughby-Eastlake city schools. While a bullet will still penetrate the window, the film will keep the broken glass intact while making it incredibly difficult for someone to break through. Click here to see this product in action.
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