18 years ago the Columbine school shooting shook the world with images of students filing out of school buildings in single file with hands raised, SWAT teams surrounding the school, and the stark terror on the faces of the students and teachers. For the security and safety community, it renewed efforts to keep our most cherished citizens safe.
School security has increased tremendously since the Columbine tragedy. A direct result was the introduction of the classroom security function. In order to secure a traditional classroom function lock, a person had to step out into the hallway from the classroom and use a key to secure the door opening. With the introduction of the classroom security function, the lock is able to be secured from the interior of the room.
In the last 18 years, there have been, unfortunately, many more school shootings. Mechanical and electronic access control continues to develop to provide safer buildings. Other security measures that have been implemented in many school districts include metal detectors, security cameras, ID badges, visitor management software, limiting entry/exit points, security guards, and much more. There isn’t a “one size fits all” solution.
We also must not forget that life and fire safety are equally as important as security. Balancing both can be challenging for facilities. Many of the recently introduced classroom barricade devices don’t provide the ability to allow for free egress. You just have to Google The Iroquois Fire, The Cocoanut Grove Nightclub, The Beverly Hills Supper Club and the Station Nightclub fires to understand why having a clear means of egress is vital to saving lives in case of fire.
Ultimately we wish every school could be equipped with an electronic access control solution that could lock down classrooms and perimeter doors with the touch of a button, but that isn’t financially feasible for many school districts. When we introduced our new electronic access control line, HS4, last year, one of our goals was to provide different levels of security and safety that would fit a range of budgets. To learn more about our HS4 electronic access solutions please contact [email protected].
For more information on the efforts from the security and safety community please click on the links below.
- Door Security & Safety Foundation – Lock Don’t Block
- FEMA 428 – Primer for Design Safe Schools Projects in Case of Terrorist Attacks
- NFPA Journal – What Price Security?
- Paul Timm with RETA Security – School Security – How to Build and Strengthen a School Safety Program
- DHI Security + Safety Magazine – Solutions in Educational Facilities by Brian Clarke AHC, CDT, CSI