The dark and depressing unfolding of last year’s Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting is still fresh in the memories of the residents of Florida. The gloom and gravity of that tragedy are not going to fade away anytime soon. The event is the stark reminder of how gun control laws or the lack thereof often precipitates into such tragedies.
It was also a wakeup call for school managements all over the country to beef up the security of their premises. Besides rampant gun control provisions, on-site security lapse adds to the horror of an active shooting scene. Amending federal laws to make stricter gun rules is still a long haul prospect. However, it is well in one’s hand to soup up the school security to ensure better safety of children.
Here, we are going to discuss some important points with respect to school security. The discussion will surmise how some simple measures along with the services of certified security personnel can make all the difference for the security of any educational institute.
Devising a Pre-Emptive Strategy
There is no replacement for an effective pre-emptive strategy. What could possibly be better than having a pre-emptive plan that might prevent a tragedy from happening altogether? A pre-emptive strategy can hinge on many columns. Let’s have a look at two of the most important pre-emptive measures that any school administration should take.
A Proactive Approach towards Red Flags and Warning Signs
Including Parkland shooting, every such tragedy had the perpetrators that were red flagged before the incident. This means keeping a constant tab on those warning signs and immediately acting on them can help in preventing these incidents. But it’s easier said than done to deal with those arbitrary warning signs.
Nevertheless, devising an uninterrupted and entrusting communication line between the students and faculty can help in identifying any brewing behavioral problem that is often associated with the perpetrators of those events. And it is really important that the management swiftly acts on the peculiar information shared by students instead of brushing it off as personal grudges and irrational fright.
A Contingent of Certified Security Personnel
People often wonder how a shooter is able to fearlessly carry out his deadly plan particularly in schools. The simple answer to this question is that the perpetrators are aware of the fact that no qualified security personnel is present on the campus to confront them. Moreover, no matter how swift is the response from the law enforcement agencies, they can’t offset a couple of minutes in which a shooter can materialize a tragedy.
Deploying a group of bodyguards that can respond to any such threat physically and through firearm can act as an effective deterrent for all those borderline terrorists who are planning any evil design.
A Controlled Access to the Campus
Besides having that pre-emptive regimen in place, it is important that any school management must restrict access to the campus. No unauthorized individuals with prohibited items should be allowed within the school even if they state a legitimate reason for the entry.
Keeping in context the recent past, the complete lack of checking for students at entry points is another loophole in any school security plan. Many schools don’t station security personnel on the entrance as it ‘tenses up’ the environment. To begin with, we can’t fathom how a tensed up environment can take precedence over the potential cost of human casualties.
Moreover, it’s an exaggeration to say that security personnel at the entrance make the entire setting formidable. No one is saying to militarize the entry and exit points of the premises. However, school management should station seasoned bodyguards without firearms with the sole responsibility of checking if any prohibited item is being transported along.
Experienced security personnel can identify the firearms used in such activities even if they are concealed.
Securing and Hardening the Potential Inside Target (Classroom)
It is really important to ‘harden up’ the classrooms, which are the easiest target for an active shooter. There is no definite way or a manual to do this. However, the school administration can take some measures for making their classrooms ‘shooting-proof’.
Conceal the Internal View
Windows of classrooms become a liability in any instance of an active shooting. Therefore, school management must use blinds and covers that can immediately restrict the internal view of the class in any instance. Moreover, doors must have multiple locks from the inside.
Bulletproof shelters and corners are now also available in the market. They can be installed inside the rooms to provide instant shelters to the kids. However, the cost of this security gear is way too high, which the majority of school administrations simply can’t afford.
As the last resort, older kids and teachers must be trained to improvise and use any object from within the classroom as a weapon against the shooter.
In an inevitable case of shooting, a school must be equipped with the power and capability to confront, engage, and put down the shooter. Devising on-site response is no mean task. However, a school can opt for some options by keeping its work culture and resources at hand in mind.
- If possible, they should have a dedicated police asset on campus.
- Hiring private security personnel with applicable firearm training can also work as an effective on-site response.
- They can ask for the volunteering services of veterans and retired law enforcement individuals from the community.
- Or they can arm the staff and the facility (this is the suggestion peddled by many federal lawmakers including the president but we are not a strong advocate of this on-site response measure.
From the above four options, hiring private security personal appears to be the most feasible way forward with an on-site response. On the whole, private security guards can play an effective role in upholding school security for keeping our children safe.