Districts look to beef up school safety with panic buttons, bullet-proof glass
In the wake of the Newtown shootings, many schools are taking measures to beef-up security.
Not surprisingly, school districts across the country are taking a closer look at their security plans in the wake of the Connecticut mass shooting. Talks range from installing panic buttons and bullet-proof glass to evaluating safety procedures and running extra lockdown drills.
In Connecticut, 850 school and police officials, as well as parents, school board members and others met in Southington on Monday to gain insights from national experts about how to make schools more secure, reports The Hartford Courant.
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Joseph Cirasuolo, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, one of the groups that organized the conference, was quoted "We just want to make sure people know what the facts are on a variety of issues, to help them have an informed conversation instead of one overridden by emotion."
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Although the West Hartford School District already has a buzzer entry system and cameras in place, they’re headed toward installing a panic button, which if pressed, would alert teachers of the need to lock down certain sections of the building and summon the police.
Jennings Smith, a Canton-based firm that provides school security services, has experienced a swell in interest since the Newtown shooting. Owner Bill Smith said that starting on the night of the tragedy, he has gotten calls from districts all across the country.
But, a creating good security plan is a complicated undertaking. It requires hardware and other security products, as well as the human element of people, policies and procedures, Smith said. It’s also important to take a "reasoned approach,” Smith was quoted. “You can ramp up to the point where you start making schools look like correctional facilities.”
What measures do you think schools should (or shouldn’t) take to increase security?
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Photo: Steve Hamblin/Alamy
OK - stupid ideas like arming teachers are not going to work. I am a 28 year military veteran, I was a teacher for nine years, and I am a firm supporter of the Second Amendment. "Arming teachers" is a stupid, quick and cheap way to gain an illusion of safety.
What is needed? - is a FIRM security plan, one that is laid out, and drilled. Not a joke plan, since "we know it will never happen here" - nor a fantasy plan, where students are expected to form up at "rally points" away from the school.
Simple things need to be drilled, also - for example, do you realize most school desktops - those composite plastic ones I've seen in schools all over the country - are BULLET RESISTANT?
Truth - I got some desktops from the dumpster, and tried it at the firing range. Those desk tops will bounce a 9mm bullet from ten feet, and even at inches, will only break, not pass the bullet. They will deflect a .223 round at anything more than 15 feet, and you still only break the desk top at three feet - as close as I dared to fire. Don't believe me - TRY IT.
Every child at Newtown HAD a ballistic protective plate available - but NOBODY knew to use them.
AS FAR AS I KNOW - nobody teaches anybody to use this, and most school administrators I talked to, looked at me like I was crazy. NOBODY would even try it...so much for "scientific method"
When I taught in NYC - we had a policy of locking the classroom doors when the bell rang. Nice, heavy doors, the kind that need a firefighters axe to breach. At my last school, we had lightweight doors that would be easy to kick in.
I - personally - taught my students to think about a school shooting, and what to do...but I was counseled about doing this, by my supervisor...it seems that a Combat Veteran, and a Security Consultant, who is working as a teacher, does not have sufficient credentials to discuss personal security issues with students...certainly not as much as a thirty year old, highly paid "Security consultant" with a Doctorate in Education and ZERO actual experience in dealing with Violence...but has studied on it, and written papers. I told him he was about as valid as a Virgin writing Sex Manuals...he reported me as having a bad attitude.
Bullet-proof glass and "panic buttons" are great - but absent a full-up, RATIONAL, security plan, they are as useless as spitting in the wind.
Love the idea! And rather than having only physically located panic buttons - Assign each of the teachers a FOB with a panic button on it, just like you can get for your home security system. Require them to carry it at all times.
I would pay what ever the cost so that I will never have to experience the heartache of the parents in the Conn shooting did and are to this day are still doing.
Kids are the best this in life and just taking one life or failing to protect one life is just not ok
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