Trends in Education

School Safety

Integrated Security Systems

PHOTO COURTESY OF MARTIN ABEGGLEN

We have been observing a number of trends in school security and emergency preparedness during 2015. There has been another surge in the number of schools that are performing school security assessments. We anticipate that this trend will continue into 2016 due to increasing concerns of terrorism. School officials cite the number and type of terrorist attacks that have been averted by authorities, as well as a significant number that have successfully carried out by terrorists for this concern. When combined with repeated cautions by ranking federal law enforcement and intelligence officials, terrorism is very much on the radar screen for many school officials.

School officials are increasingly recognizing that the intensive focus on active shooter events has created significant vulnerabilities in other areas. This is partly due to the wide array of attack methodologies available to terrorists. Because solid physical security strategies can cause terrorists to move on to easier targets, many school districts and non-public schools are re-evaluating their approaches in this area.

Buzzer access entryways, visitor management systems, proximity card systems, protective laminate window films and a host of other approaches can provide increased protection from some acts of terrorism while also helping to address far more common school security issues.

The demand for behavioral training to help staff spot indications of danger are also garnering increased interest from school officials. Again, these approaches offer benefits in helping to prevent more common situations like bullying, suicide, gang activity and abductions while creating another opportunity for school officials to spot a potential terrorist. Both security measures and behavioral training approaches can make it harder for terrorists to enter a school for pre-attack surveillance or for an actual attack.

There are numerous indications that we will continue to see both prevented and successful terrorist attacks globally and in the United States in 2016. Attacks on K-12 schools in Kenya, Nigeria, France, Israel, Russia, Pakistan and a number of other countries over the past decade combined with terrorist activities in America indicate that this topic will regrettably remain a hot topic.

Trends in Education

School Planning & Management asked experts who are involved in various education-related fields to talk about what is happening in regard to K-12 education and what they expect in the near future. The following are their thoughts on the topics of planning, design, architecture, legislation, energy management, and safety and security.

This article originally appeared in the January 2016 issue of School Planning & Management.

About the Author

Michael Dorn serves as the executive director for Safe Havens International, Inc., an IRS-approved, nonprofit safety center. He has authored and co-authored more than 20 books on campus safety. He can be reached through the Safe Havens website at www.safehavensinternational.org.

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