Parkland Shooting survivor attends ISC West with goal of bringing campus security solutions back to campus with him
- By Sydny Shepard
- June 01, 2018
“You never think it is going to happen to you.” That was the first thing Jake Glacer said to me when we sat down to talk at ISC West.
Glacer, a 16-year-old junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., was in Building 1200 when a student who had been previously banned from the campus returned with a semi-automatic rifle and opened fire into five classrooms, including Glacer’s classroom: Room 1213.
The teenager told a horrifying and visceral story about how he and his classmates ducked bullets and piled themselves into a small corner of the room not visible through the window of the door.
“It was just a normal day,” Glacer recalled hesitantly. “We were sitting in class taking notes and then six to eight shots went off. We all ran to a corner of the room, and then we realized that we were visible from the door so we ran to the other corner of the room where you can’t be seen from the door, but not everybody could fit in the corner.”
Despite the students’ best efforts to find safety in their classroom, four students would suffer gunshot wounds. Among the seventeen lost was a student from Glacer’s classroom.
“We didn’t try to leave,” Glacer said. “I didn’t have any idea of what was happening. No one had any idea of what was happening. Some people thought it was a drill, and I had to tell a girl in my class that this was real. This is really happening, there is no way this is a drill.”
Twenty-four minutes passed before police came to the classroom, reached through the door’s broken window, unlocked it and instructed students to run. The students made their escape while police carried the wounded of Room 1213 behind them. During those long 24 minutes, Glacer texted his mother, “I love you. Tell Dad I love him, too.” He wasn’t sure he would see them again.
Glacer would later reconnect with his mother and father, Dana and Noel Glacer, about a mile from the high school after running from his campus with other fleeing students, finding safety across the street.
In the weeks after the shooting, Glacer continued to be dumbfounded by what had happened at his own school. He remembered telling his father months before the incident that he wanted to attend the next trade show he had in Las Vegas. After the incident, he became more eager to participate.
“I never really thought I would go,” Glacer said of ISC West. “But after everything happened I had a real reason to come.”
The next event Noel Glacer, CEO and founder of Security Division at Recruit Group, was planning to attend in Las Vegas happened to be the largest security trade show in the United States, with campus security products, solutions and services in nearly every foot of the room. Glacer describes the show as eye-opening.
“We currently have lanyards and clear backpacks that were donated to us, but that is nothing compared to the solutions I have seen here [at ISC West],” Glacer said. “I have just seen so much, like cameras and solutions for doors.”
Glacer described an access control system he saw on day one of the show that allowed school administration to assign a barcode to each person in the building. The system would help track those coming in and out of certain areas and even keep someone from entering an area they were not authorized to access.
“I don’t know what is keeping schools from finding these solutions,” Glacer admitted. “I think a lot of schools are thinking, ‘It is never going to happen to us,’ and are implementing solutions that bring a false sense of security.”
When asked what solution he felt would make him feel more protected at school he mentioned metal detectors. “Personally, I like the idea of metal detectors,” Glacer said. “I like knowing what everyone is bringing in and knowing that nothing bad is coming into the school.”
Glacer spoke of the fine line that schools have to balance when implementing security plans on their campuses so that the school still feels like an open, free-flowing educational facility and not a locked down, prison-like atmosphere.
“Do you want to feel safe?” Glacer asked rhetorically of those who do not agree with security solutions such as metal detectors in schools. “What other option is there? [Metal detectors] don’t get in the way of my education.”
After three full days at ISC West, Glacer now knows that there are definitely more options than just metal detectors.
IDENTIFYING SOLUTIONS THAT WORK
During his time at ISC West, Glacer met with many companies, saw several product demonstrations and had insightful and thought-provoking conversations with security integrators and manufacturers. There were a few products and conversations that really stood out to him, including the Sielox CLASS - Crisis Lockdown Alert Status System.
“I really liked what Sielox had to show me,” Glacer said. “The system assigns an operator to the school who can oversee all the teachers at the school. The teachers have access to the program and can alert the operator if there is a fight in the classroom or a bigger issue, like a Code Red.”
A Code Red at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is a lockdown situation where only the police are allowed to move about the campus.
“If there is a Code Red, then the operator can alert all the teachers in the entire school in a matter of seconds,” Glacer said. “In my situation, it would have saved lives.”
Glacer also really liked Avigilon’s Anomaly Detection Software, which notifies users when items, events or objects that do not conform to an expected pattern happen in the view of the camera. He described the software as “overkill” for schools, but thought the overall solution was interesting and hopes to find solutions similar to these to bring back to campus with him.
In addition to the solutions he saw, Glacer also had several conversations with campus security solution providers about how they could tackle certain issues, like the difficulty of balancing fire safety codes with active shooter protocols and ensuring proper training for security solutions.
“It felt like I was bringing up issues that these companies hadn’t really thought of before,” Glacer said. “For instance, we talked with a camera company about training, not hardware or anything but training. It seems that people don’t know exactly what to do protocol-wise when it comes to the cameras in a specific situation.”
THE END GOAL
Glacer came to ISC West with a very specific goal in mind.
“My goal is to collect everything that I can from [ISC West], all the products, all the solutions and services, everything that everybody has, and take it back to school with me.” Glacer said. “There are a few different people that my dad and I would like to talk to first, but really I just want change at this point.”
The mission is to get companies to stop selling solutions for a single problem and to start thinking of a total solution for campuses.
“I’m hoping, depending on who we can get into contact with, to bring companies together, basically,” Glacer said. “Having all these companies single-handedly throw their products at a school is great, but they aren’t being implemented, and they aren’t going to be implemented until campuses understand how these products can work to give them a holistic approach to security.”
Glacer described a potential initiative where companies design campus security packages that can be assigned to schools based on a sliding scale of risk.
“What I would like to see happen is companies come together and create different, scalable packages that can be tailored to schools,” Glacer said. “Then you can have a risk assessment consultant create a scale of risk that can be associated with the packages of solutions. These consultants can then match schools with a campus security package based on their level of risk.”
“I think that would be so helpful to schools—packages that are already made and ready to implement based on the current threats aimed at that school.”
While security is the main topic of conversation around his school and home at the current moment, Glacer said he isn’t really interested in a career in security.
“I don’t know that I would want to work in the security industry,” Glacer said. “But I will always want to help out, especially when it comes to campus security.”
Moving forward, Glacer is looking at colleges in Florida, but even that brings up its own set of questions and worries. “Securing a college campus is like securing a small city,” Glacer said. “I will definitely be aware of what security solutions a campus has when looking at colleges.”
Glacer hopes to attend the University of Florida or University of California, Berkeley in the Fall of 2019.
For now, Glacer holds onto hope that something good will come out of his visit to ISC West. With ongoing threats made to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School weekly, the student body is still on edge. I asked Glacer if the threats worried him still, or if, at this point, they felt normal.
“I don’t know how to feel,” he said. “Anything can happen.”
This article originally appeared in the June 2018 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.