The security week that was: 03/25/11 (school security round-up)

A weekly surveillance of the news shaping your profession


School security round-up

I want to devote this week’s wrap-up to the topic of school security, and the goal is to present a number of incidents and situations to our readers from the last week that I think demonstrate a wide range of school security issues. I’m going to group them by some categories and provide summaries, so this is more of a suggested reading list than my normal approach of simply sharing my opinion about an emerging topic.

Youth violence
In this area, I want to include bullying (mental and physical violence) as well as violence against students on/off campus. One of the great things I heard about this week, I already wrote about in my blog, but I’ll mention it here again: Safe Passage is a Chicago program designed to ensure that students get home from school safely. Bullying in the schools, of course, is one of the number one things to watch out for, and there was a serious case this week. But bullying can also lead to anger issues of the receiver, and one thing we’ve heard time and time again is that school shooters were often outcasts and the recipients of bullying. In Winston-Salem, they're moving to a school resource officer model to increase police presence in schools.

School access and visitor management
I was impressed to see that this is getting the attention it deserves. There are a number of solutions on the market which allow for school visitors to be checked against national, state and local registries so that school administrators can keep out the unwanted visitors: those with restraining orders, sexual offender histories, etc. Adoption has been slow, but at least it is occurring. One of the challenges for schools for implementing any sort of visitor program has always been multiple entrances, and audits still find door access control to be a top problem.

School drills and active shooter incidents
In the town where I live, even the elementary schools are doing school shooter drills to lock-down the building. I’m taking a continuing education class at my local college and next Tuesday, I’ll be experiencing a school shooter drill there as well. Keep those drills top-notch, unlike one (see story link in list) that seemed to become more a political statement than anything. Incidentally, there also was a student shooting today, but not much is known about the incident, and gunfire disrupted a California high school this week. It may not always be shooters, but China’s also dealing with this issue. I like the approach in Miami-Dade, where police are offering $1,000 tips for info on guns in schools. That’s huge money for students!

 

Guns on campus
It’s a huge debate for our nation: Should guns be on campus? Recent news on this front is that three states (Texas, Arizona and Idaho) are wrestling with allows guns on campuses; most of the movement seems to be for allowing guns on campus. Does this scare you?

And then the unexpected...
There are always things you can't plan for, but which you simply have to deal with.