Staff and students play a variety of roles in schools and universities, and many of these roles can affect security, for better or worse, according to school security consultants interviewed for this article.

Custodians and janitors, front office staff, administrators, teachers, nurses and social workers, food service, bus drivers and even students are all part of the security team. “It's vital to remember that in most situations, people in the building are the first responders, not the people outside,” says Paul Timm, PSP, president of RETA Security Inc.

Awareness is key in maximizing security effectiveness. “We can never lose by heightening awareness; whether it's making sure the school newsletter mentions a security/safety briefing, or if the school sends out the occasional e-mail. With awareness, collaboration of a safety committee and hardening your target, we can stop these situations,” Timm says.

Check out the many security roles of various members of the education community — and be sure to share these expectations with the “front lines” of school security.