The school season is back in full swing across America, which means school safety is on everyone’s mind. Whether you’ve been tasked with creating a back to school safety plan to stop an active shooter, or you’re simply looking for school safety ideas to keep your district’s students out of harm’s way, this article will help introduce you to the top tips experts suggest for enhancing safety at school during back-to-school time and beyond.
Do you have specific safety questions? Get fast answers when you ask the school safety window film experts at NGS, one of the leading window film installers in America.
Harden Your Glass
According to the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, a key finding for school security lies in the use of better glass protection. The Sandy Hook Advisory Report recommends the following, because a school’s glass is its most vulnerable area.
- “Design windows, framing and anchoring systems to be shatter-resistant, burglar resistant, and forced entry resistant”
- “Resistance for glazing may be built into the window or applied with a film”
Applying window film or using virtually shatterproof “glass” lookalike technology can maintain the sunlight required for effective learning, yet protect students and staff from shooters and other hazards, such as explosions, storms, and high-speed flying debris.
Some of the most popular methods for hardening school glass include:
A thick, yet fully transparent window film with various levels of tinting and frame anchors, 3M Ultra can resist attack from bullets, bats, rocks, kicks, and other aggressive entry methods.
Watch the Houston ISD Police Department combine more than 100 hits from bullets and bodily attacks as they spend more than 6 minutes trying to break through 3M Ultra film:
When you want virtually shatterproof windows, Riot Glass is your answer. This innovative solution looks just like glass and is attractively installed using a nearly invisible rail mounting system, yet it keeps attackers and would-be intruders out of your building to increase safety at school.
Check out how Riot Glass stops intruders:
Providing a triple-layer of shatter-resistant glass protection that includes a solid door anchoring system to keep glass firmly attached to its frame, TRI-SHIELD delivers effective school safety at a fraction of the cost of many other solutions.
Watch TRI-SHIELD stop an intruder:
Obscure Line of Sight
Keeping intruders out of your building is only half the problem. If school safety issues arise from someone who is already in the building, it’s important to block their progress.
Intrusions, attacks, and active shooter situations inside a school can be mitigated by privacy window film such as 3M Fasara decorative films or 3M Mirror Film.
Available in a very wide variety of patterns and styles, including privacy-friendly etching, fogging, and engraving, 3M Fasara lets light in but blocks the view for uninvited onlookers. 3M Fasara can be used in any lighting situation and on any glass surface, and can also be cut into shapes, swirls, or your school mascot – so your school safety window film does double duty as a school spirit booster. Window graphics may also help block line of sight.
3M Mirror Film
One way mirror film from 3M offers classrooms a clear view out of the room, but displays an impenetrable, security-friendly mirrored view for outsiders looking in. This film is ideal for small classrooms and spaces, or for adding privacy to portions of rooms, but call in an expert before making your decision because it only works in specific lighting situations.
Perform Regular Drills
They say: “practice makes perfect” and that concept applies to school safety as well. School safety window film provides the physical barrier required when creating a school safety plan for active shooters, but drills help your students, staff, and visitors understand how they can use these safety tools to their own advantage in an emergency.
Effective active shooter training for schools includes making sure everyone in the school knows how to react and where to go during a crisis and, during drills, you can reinforce emergency information with clear signage posted throughout the school on windows, walls, doors, lockers – even on floors!
Products such as 3M Envision and 3M Controltac affix to virtually any surface, indoors or outdoors, to help you designate school safety zones and direct school occupants throughout your buildings (even in low-light situations). They’re also one of those great school safety ideas that work especially well in non-school district buildings that don’t often run drills.
Other safety and drill procedures that can help improve school security include:
- Self-defense training for teachers and staff
- Mandated memorization of school floorplans and layout, for both students and staff
- Strategic classroom setup, including natural barriers near the door, teaching as far away from the door as possible, and creating a quick entrance blockade option for lockdown situations
- Non-standard drill procedures, such as evacuating through classroom windows or initiating lockdown drills during lunch
- School closed-door policies with intercoms and camera verification at the entrances and locked classroom doors
Increased counseling staff and a focus on student bullying prevention strategies
In addition, schools can benefit by learning about how security film and film anchoring systems work – and discover why there is no “one size fits all” method that covers all your doors and windows. Check out the security film training video below:
How Can You Prevent School Shootings?
Your district’s teachers are in charge of educating children. The various school staff members are in charge of taking care of paperwork, advising students, supporting students’ health and wellbeing, and making sure your community’s children have well-balanced, healthy meals each day. However, Facilities and Maintenance professionals like you may have the hardest task of all.
Without secure schools, students and teachers won’t feel safe or focused, the district will have a difficult time filling critical supplementary staff positions, and parents will worry about their children while they’re attending their day-to-day classes.
In other words, it’s up to you to prevent school shootings – and that’s a heavy responsibility to have.
Although there’s no way to predict when and where a school shooting will occur, there is a way to protect your community’s children while they’re at school. Preventing school shootings largely relies on stopping active shooters in their tracks, and the best way to do that is to harden your buildings’ security against the worst-case scenario.
Continue your research into school security tactics when you access the resources available on our School Safety page.