People Must Be Behind School Security Equipment

Posted by on March 3, 2010

In our recent visits to schools while conducting emergency preparedness assessments, we have noticed a number of physical security designs and school security equipment being circumvented by some of the very people for whom these items were put in to protect: The school staff. 

Similar circumstances have been highlighted in I-Team news stories when reporters went into schools with hidden news cameras to “test” school security.

A few examples include:

  • School buildings where the main entrances have been reconfigured with a vestibule and a second set of inner doors that are supposed to be locked to funnel visitors into an adjacent main office. Instead of being secured, several schools had these doors propped open because it was an “inconvenience” to staff.
  • Well-intended students who open a locked door for a stranger trying to get in from outside.
  • Teachers and support staff who still do not simply say, “Good morning.  How may I help you?,” to strangers in the school.

As my colleague, Chuck Hibbert, said in a recent Indianapolis news interview:

“You can have the physical piece in place.  That’s good. But the  “people piece” is not in place.”

School security technology and design can be a supplement to, but not a substitute for, a comprehensive school safety program.  Any school security equipment or design feature is only as effective as the human element behind the technology or design feature.

Is the “people piece” of school safety a priority component of your school’s safety and security plan?

Ken Trump 

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