The biggest changes to school security in 2018

The complexity of ensuring our schools and education facilities are both safe and secure has grown tremendously. Brass key systems are increasingly supplemented with secure credentials as access management has become more critical. The continued development of mass notification systems and video surveillance has made them critical components of a holistic security solution. And now, a major next step is upon us in the evolution of physical security as we look to more effectively manage lock-down procedures.

In the past five years, the biggest change in school security has been to transition from the idea of the big red button–where a single action locks all openings–to a more sectored approach. The new way of thinking is that the big red button locks down perimeter and exterior doors, but interior doors are locked locally based on location, situation, and teacher and faculty decision.

When discussing why this change is appropriate, it is important to look at the specific needs of education campuses today. Physical school security can be broken down to subsections, including perimeter fencing and gates, the building exterior, visitor-access management, and interior spaces. In previous iterations of lockdowns, systems were developed that allowed one system to lock every door: the centrally controlled, universal-lockdown concept.…Read More

A unique approach to school security: Bulletproof whiteboards?

Hardwire’s new bulletproof whiteboard is an instructional tool that doubles as a personal protection device.

What’s lighter than a typical whiteboard, will stop multiple rounds of ammunition, and is 2.5 times stronger than Kevlar? According to Hardwire LLC, a company specializing in ballistic protective solutions, it’s the company’s new education whiteboard.

The whiteboard, which is only a quarter of an inch thick, reportedly can stop multiple rounds from a .44 magnum and above without any ricochet. It also can be used to charge an assailant, or as a floatation device. Could it help boost school security?

“It’s handheld and lightweight, even lighter than most whiteboards,” said George Tunis, CEO and chairman of Hardwire. “The more armor we add [to the classroom], the safer we make it.”…Read More

Obama to unveil gun violence, school security measures

The president’s framework is based on recommendations from Vice President Joe Biden, who led a wide-ranging task force on gun violence.

President Barack Obama’s broad effort to reduce gun violence and boost school security will include proposed bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, as well as more than a dozen executive orders aimed at circumventing congressional opposition to stricter gun control.

The president also is calling for more anti-bullying efforts; more training for teachers, counselors, and principals; and funding for more counselors and school resource officers.

Obama was expected to announce the measures Jan. 16 at a White House event that will bring together law enforcement officials, lawmakers, and children who wrote to him about gun violence following last month’s shooting of 20 young students and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.…Read More

Texas town allows teachers to carry concealed guns in school

The superintendent won’t disclose how many of the school’s 50 employees carry weapons, saying that might jeopardize school security.

In the tiny Texas town of Harrold, children and their parents don’t give much thought to security at the community’s lone school—in part because some of the teachers are carrying concealed weapons.

In remote Harrold, the nearest sheriff’s office is 30 minutes away, and people tend to know—and trust—one another. So the school board voted to let teachers have guns in school.

“We don’t have money for a [school] security guard, but this is a better solution,” Superintendent David Thweatt said. “A shooter could take out a guard or officer with a visible, holstered weapon, but our teachers have master’s degrees, are older, and have had extensive training. And their guns are hidden. We can protect our children.”…Read More

Leaders eye school safety plans after Connecticut attack

“It’s just very difficult to be able to … eliminate all those risks,” said Rick Johnson, superintendent of the Mahomet-Seymour Community Schools in Illinois.

The mass killing inside a Connecticut elementary school has educators across the country reviewing their school security measures, reassuring parents, and asking, “What if?”

“Every principal will be going through their own protocols, the things they do on a daily basis to protect their students and staff,” said Dr. Will Keresztes, associate superintendent for student support in the school system in Buffalo, N.Y.

Amid grief and condolences for the 20 children fatally shot Dec. 14 by a gunman in Newtown, Conn., school leaders nationwide sent eMails, text messages, and phone recordings assuring parents and children their schools are safe, while acknowledging the difficult balancing act in keeping that promise.…Read More

LA schools step up security after student shooting

Schools should perform random security screenings, say safety experts.

Security officers wielding metal detecting wands meticulously searched students Wednesday as they waited in a long line outside a Los Angeles high school where two 15-year-olds were shot in a classroom a day earlier.

The stepped-up security measures come after a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun being carried in a backpack by a 10th-grader discharged Tuesday when he put the bag down on a desk at Gardena High School, authorities said.

A bullet pierced a boy in the neck, exited, and hit a girl in the head. The boy was doing well Wednesday, while the girl remained in serious condition with a skull fracture.…Read More

Districts install x-ray machines to boost school safety

Smiths Detection says x-ray machines can provide a level of security that metal detectors can't.
Smiths Detection says x-ray machines can provide a level of security that metal detectors can't.

More school districts are turning to x-ray machines like those found in airports to strengthen and improve school security—a move that school safety experts say can improve physical safety as well as students’ and teachers’ emotional well-being while inside school buildings.

Patrick Fiel, public safety advisor for ADT Security Services and former executive director of school security for the Washington, D.C., public school system, said this type of technology can prevent contraband from entering schools.

“X-ray machines definitely can reduce crime and can act as a deterrent when people know they’re going through them,” said Fiel.…Read More

U.K. schools install facial recognition cameras to curb tardiness

In a controversial move that could make taking attendance a thing of the past, some U.K. schools are using cutting-edge cameras to scan students’ faces as they enter school, reports the Daily Mail. The face-recognition technology makes sure they have turned up, records whether they were on time or late, and keeps an accurate roll call. It also can deliver messages to pupils as they sign in. Ten schools have started using the system, which is likely to be introduced elsewhere if considered a success. But privacy campaigners reacted angrily yesterday, warning that the technology was another “encroachment on civil liberties.” The faceREGISTER systems that are being installed in schools take 3D digital images of faces and infrared scans. The technology, made by Northamptonshire firm Aurora Computer Services, is said to be so accurate that there is no chance of pupils signing in for their friends. Sir Christopher Hatton School, a comprehensive school in Northamptonshire, started testing it on A-level pupils (high-school students) last month. Head of sixth form Kelli Foster said: “The technology is just incredible. Before, each pupil had to sign in and out of the reception by filling in a form, but now it takes under ten seconds to gather so much more information.” But Big Brother Watch campaign director Daniel Hamilton said: “This is another worrying development in the expansion of the surveillance state…”

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