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Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) recommends security window film

empty school classroom with colorful chairs and desks

A school should be a vibrant and inviting place of learning—but it should also be a safe space. If you’re looking for ways to bolster your school’s security, the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) recommends security window film.

Weak Points in Physical School Security

Despite the growing awareness of school safety issues and the high priority districts place on addressing them, most districts still have plenty of room for improvement. A survey by Raptor Technologies and the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) asked participants what safety improvements they would most like to see made in their school districts. Among other improvements like training and mental health efforts, the most popular answer was physical security.

The safety of your school community depends on strong physical security. Some of the most common issues in this category include:

  • Poor access control: A lack of effective access control mechanisms (such as door locks, key card systems, or visitor management protocols) can allow unauthorized individuals to enter school buildings or classrooms.
  • Weak building envelope: Even with locks in place, windows and doors can be all too easy for a perpetrator to break through if they want to gain entry. The beautiful windows that let light into your school can also be a vulnerability in an emergency.
  • Insufficient surveillance: Limited camera coverage or outdated surveillance systems may fail to provide adequate monitoring of school premises, making it difficult to detect and respond to security threats in a timely manner.

Another challenge to consider is the need to balance other priorities, like staying within budgets and making the learning environment aesthetically pleasing. If security were the only goal, schools may end up spending exponential amounts of money on security measures and looking more like prisons than houses of learning. All of these priorities should be considered as you find ways to enhance your school’s physical security.

Determining School Safety Best Practices

School safety regulations are determined at the state and district level, so there’s no universal standard to follow. However, in addition to legally mandated requirements, some organizations share best practices and guidelines to help schools improve their approach to safety.

The PASS is one such organization. Its safety and security guidelines serve as a gold standard for school safety. Understanding that you may be limited in the improvements you can make right now, PASS classifies its recommendations using a tier system. Lower tiers are reserved for the most basic needs, while higher tiers indicate increased protection for your school.

Spotlight on Security Window Film

According to PASS, security window film is a Tier 1 essential for reinforcing your school’s architecture. Security window film is an adhesive product applied to windows that makes them less vulnerable to intruders. PASS recommends installing security window film that is at least 14 mils (350 microns) thick on all exterior door vision panels and sidelights.

Why security window film? Here are some of the benefits of this solution:

Deterring and Delaying Forced Entry

This product can prevent a dangerous incident entirely or can delay a forced entry, buying time for staff and students to respond. While an attacker is busy trying to break through the window, you can swiftly implement your school safety plan.

Containing Shattered Glass

As PASS points out, if an intruder does manage to break through a window, the film can hold the broken glass together to limit injuries from glass shards. This can also be a valuable benefit when it comes to emergencies like fires, accidents, vandalism, natural disasters, or severe weather.

Obscuring Visibility

Some schools prefer the look of completely transparent film for aesthetics and maximized natural light. However, schools that opt for tinted window film can provide one-way visibility for students and staff inside the school while obscuring the view from the outside. PASS points out that, when installed on lower classroom windows, this type of film can keep an intruder from seeing inside to target victims.

Aligning with Practical Constraints

Window film isn’t just an effective solution—it’s a cost-effective one. Plus, it’s relatively simple to install, making it a quick win for security that will continue to deliver long-term benefits. You may be able to reduce your costs further (or completely absorb them) by qualifying for grants to fund the project.

Enhance School Safety with Security Window Film

Take it from PASS: Security window film is an absolute must if you want to strengthen your school’s physical security. Want some more recommendations on best practices to follow? Download our “School Safety Plan Checklist”. Or, if you’re ready to get your school outfitted with security window films, contact us to get the conversation started!

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