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Safety Solutions

Do Schools Really Need Drawbridges?

Posted by John Baker on May 20, 2015 11:06:34 AM

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  I was teaching a group of educators how to respond to a violent intruder the other day.  In response to my lecture a "security consultant" working for this particular organization kept emphasizing the importance of perimeter security, so much so that he appeared to minimize the widely accepted  strategies of run, hide & fight.  His argument was that if a school could just harden their perimeter security enough it would prevent the active shooter from getting inside and hurting others.  Sadly, many well intentioned people hold this same view.  Unfortunately the data from the past 15 years of school violence and active shooter incidents in our country doesn't support that view.  Is reasonable perimeter security part of the solution?  Absolutely.  Should it be the primary strategy to counter active shooters or violent intruders?  Absolutely NOT!  Here are a few things to consider as you ponder this issue...

  • Most active shooters or violent intruders in schools are part of the school community. They are greeted every morning when the doors open and invited in. No matter how much hardware there is on the perimeter, at some point the doors open and hundreds, if not thousands, of staff and students  arrive in a very short period of time and school begins.  In other words, the gate is opened, the drawbridge is lowered and the alarms are turned off. The perimeter is voluntarily disarmed.
  • Most Schools don't thoroughly search all staff and students upon arrival.  Active shooters and violent intruders are welcomed in with backpack, jacket, lunch bag, computer cases and musical instruments.  Whatever they are carrying is welcomed and brought right inside.  Our school lobbies are not airport security checkpoints. 
  • Once inside the violence usually starts.  Very few of these incidents start outside.  The perimeter is rarely a factor. 

   Perimeter security is important for quite a few reasons, it protects property, reduces the likelihood of child abductions and helps create a positive learning environment by seperating the school from the surrounding community.  However, when it comes to active shooters and violent intruders, it plays a much less significant role.  Make sure your school is learning strategies to help staff and students survive once evil has already entered because more than likely they will walk right through the door.

   This is John Baker for safetysolutions4schools.com

   image courtesy of www.travel-images.com


Topics: School Safety

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