Schools should have a security area at the main entrance such as this one at Bell Prairie Elementary School, Kansas City, Mo., where guests sign in and out of the building, and receive a visitor’s pass. (Architect: Hollis + Miller Architects) Photo by Jennifer Ray
Behind every strong school system should be an even stronger security system. Administrators across the nation are on the lookout for new and more cost-effective ways to enhance security on their campuses and provide the safest environment possible for students, faculty and staff. The sad truth is violence and threats can happen at any school. Yet, school administrators can take simple and effective steps to mitigate risks.
Different schools face different threats, including fighting and bullying, gang activity, theft, vandalism, drugs and unwanted visitors entering the school. An effective security strategy will address individual needs for each school. At times, carrying out security measures may mean installing expensive equipment. Schools that frequently are called upon to do more with less can take steps to identify and carry out no-cost or low-cost solutions to strengthen security.
Using cost-effective security measures may seem simple, but it is important to evaluate all risks on campus before taking action. Getting the most for the money while improving safety starts with good planning. When looking at a security upgrade and before instituting new security steps on campus, schools should consider undergoing a security risk review from an experienced security solution provider. Many providers offer these reviews at no cost; they look at all areas of a campus—from parking lots to sports fields to gymnasiums—to provide a comprehensive analysis of potential risks.
Conducting a complete and objective security risk review helps administrators develop a holistic view of all systems and technologies, identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses, debunk myths, set priorities and identify areas where a school can reduce risks. Security risk review results then can be used to put security improvements into place.