School security plans should prepare students to expect the unexpected

Keeping students off balance key to safeguarding K-12 campuses

It’s also important to have school resource officers on a campus anytime staff and students are present. That can significantly trim police response time in emergencies, when every minute is critical.

And don’t forget surveillance cameras placed in and around school buildings. Cameras have proven to be a strong deterrent and very effective in helping to ensure policies and procedures are being followed, as well as providing evidence in forensic situations. They also provide a critical live insight for first responders during an emergency.

Even though school security has received greater attention since 1999’s Columbine massacre, it’s obvious we still need to do more. That 2011 survey also found that about seven percent of students reported being threatened or injured with a weapon, such as a gun, knife or club, while on school property. That’s unacceptable.

Security professionals, school administrators, teachers, parents and even students need to be willing to make changes. But those need to be intelligent changes that make use of the proper technology, policies and procedures – and even the element of surprise – to make our campuses safer and more secure.

About the Author: Patrick V. Fiel, Sr. is the founder of PVF Security Consulting. He has over 30 years of experience managing security and law enforcement organizations. He has served as the public safety advisor for a large security integrator, executive director of security for the Washington, D.C. Public School System, and is retired from the U.S. Army Military Police Corps. He can be reached at (910) 789-4265 or at