Effective Campus Security Goes Beyond Entrances and Exits
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick blamed the design of schools for the Santa Fe High School shooting that killed 10 people and injured 13 more.
- By Sydny Shepard
- May 23, 2018
Unfortunately, the country is mourning after another school shooting, this time in Santa Fe, Texas, where a student entered a school building wearing a trench coat and brandishing two guns stolen from his father. By the time the shooter was apprehended, 10 people had died and 13 more were injured.
At a press conference following the tragic events, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick commented that the design of school buildings might have a correlation to the amount of school shooting in the United States.
"From what we know, this student walked in ... with a long coat and a shotgun under his coat," said Patrick. "It's 90 degrees. Had there been one single entrance possibly for every student, maybe he would have been stopped. There are too many entrances and too many exits to our over 8,000 campuses in Texas. There aren't enough people to put a guard in every entrance and exit.”
While Patrick is correct in his suggestion that there should be only one entrance for students, there are effective ways to secure a school building with more than one doorway for faculty, students and staff. The first of which being proper access control, proper safety plans, students and staff as well as video surveillance with the ability to notify security staff of unusual activity.
There is a simple solution to securing a building with many entrances and exits: access control. Long gone are the days where you had one or two giant key rings, or one master key that required someone to go around locking doors every evening. There are solutions out there that allow you to be smart and safe about the entrances and exits of your school building – you don’t need someone standing in a doorway in order for it to be considered secure.
There are a variety of affordable solutions available on the market that can be scaled and tailored to your specific campus’ needs, from ID controlled access solutions to digital, smart locks that can be added to a platform that can control your doors every move.
"The reality is that there is no 'one size fits all' solution to what doors and openings work for every school," ASSA ABLOY Director of Business Development - K-12, Ron Baer said. "Perimeter fencing, visitor entry vestibules, attack resistant doors, proper locks, secure key systems, and effective hardware all play an important role in a school’s active assailant strategy."
Patrick was right when he said it was impossible to have someone at every door, but it isn’t impossible to have eyes on every door. With proper video surveillance technology, a campus security department can have a way to view each door on campus all within the same platform.
With the advanced technology we have today, you can find a way to integrate your access control and your video surveillance so that if someone or something suspicious is seen, you can immediately lock down the area and dispatch a security officer.
Ensure that you have a plan for each and every scenario your campus might be faced with.
Invest in a visitor management platform that allows administration to perform background checks and log each person gaining access to your campus.
Perform drills with your students and educate your faculty and staff on what they should do if they spot something suspicious or if an emergency situation begins to unfold.
Check for security gaps on your campus. Do you have any holes in your policies that might allow something to slip through?
Create a way for students to anonymously and safely report bullying. Most instances of violence on campus stem from bullying in some way. Educate your staff on signs of bullying and gun violence in an effort to prevent an incident from ever happening.
"Each element must be carefully considered to ensure the safety of students, faculty, staff and visitors," Baer said. "The best way to find the combination of strategies and technologies that works best for your facility is to partner with a security integrator and a security manufacturer that will do a site survey and help you plan for these scenarios. Proper planning and correctly deployed technology can mean the difference in averting the kind of crisis and tragedies that rightfully concern schools every day.”