Parents across this country are suddenly crunching numbers to see if they can afford to send their children to private school. Most cannot. Moreover, private schools are not invisible to mass shooters. The solutions lie elsewhere. School safety and risk assessments are certainly a part of the answer.
Implemented in 1999, partially as a response to the Columbine mass shooting, School Safety, and Risk Assessments were intended to curb future violence in schools. Unfortunately, the number of incidents has since escalated – most particularly mass shootings.
School Shooting Statistics
There were more school shootings in 2021 than in any year since the 1999 Columbine tragedy. In fact, there were 42. As of May 27, 2022, there have been 24 documented acts of gun violence on K-12 campuses during the school day, thus far this year. That’s almost one a week since the year began.
According to the Washington Post, a devastating 311,000 students have experienced a school shooting in the United States. Sadly, at least 185 children, educators and other people have been killed, and another 369 have been injured in these assaults.
We know that something must be done. But what are our options? Can site or risk assessments really help?
These site assessments have specific goals. Risk assessments are meant to find the holes in building security and safety, as well as to implement necessary solutions. These comprehensive evaluations include, but are not limited to:
- Identifying any hazards present within school premises
- Evaluating how those people potentially affected might be harmed
- Determining the existing procedures and evaluate if it follows safe working practices
- Assessing whether the existing controls are enough or recommend further action needs
- Assigning action needs to appropriate personnel
Furthermore, a risk assessment examines the safety, accessibility and emergency preparedness of school buildings and grounds. Critical aspects of this process include a review of buildings access, visibility around the building(s), structural integrity, as well as egress control measures. Requirements for these assessments may, and often do, vary from city to city or state to state.
Glass is the Weakest Link
In applying the above criteria, school officials can identify weak areas and implement appropriate security measures. Many schools have tempered glass installed for windows and doors. This glass is designed to break apart in chunks, instead of slivers upon impact. Obviously, this is safer for individuals surrounding the glass. But tempered glass in no way prevents or slows down the impact of a gunshot.
Adding additional layers of security to tempered glass is now a major priority for school systems. According to the Final Report of the Federal Commission on School Safety, “…Replacing any non-reinforced glass window with tempered, wire-reinforced, laminated, or bulletproof glass and applying blast-resistant safety films can strengthen windows to increase the protection they provide…”
How secure is glass? Read our 2022 Window Security and Safety Report to learn what campus safety professionals had to say about glazing security.
Defend Your Glass, Protect Your People
NGS has the capability and experience of assisting schools and other facilities with their risk assessments by utilizing our complimentary building perimeter hardening survey and analysis. We apply the following techniques or options in every assessment according to a school’s needs:
- Zoned survey approach that mirrors Federal Commission on School Safety
- Surveys per building with area maps and photos numbered to match zone and area
- Complimentary Proprietary Software to tailor the scope and price of each building to match budget or grant
- Nationwide Government Cooperative Purchase Contracting Vehicles to streamline requisition
- Best in class solutions, including but not limited to:
Security film and access denial systems as a solution
From security film to Riot Glass®, NGS concludes our building perimeter hardening survey with the right fortification recommendations to protect your school’s buildings. We want to do everything we can to protect our schools and all of its inhabitants: students, teachers, and staff. It’s part of our mission in “bettering buildings.”
As attention should be paid to possible interruption in learning environments, we make a point of non-disruptive procedures. It’s important to prioritize a safe and healthy learning environment for both students as well as faculty and staff. Our installations can happen from the outside of the building, at various times of the day. Determining the right time and procedure to implement any security system we offer is a part of our process.
Recommending security window films and systems provides additional safety for schools without students or staff feeling like they are “locked in.” Steel bars covering windows isn’t fun for anyone. Nor are armed guards patrolling halls.
Making our schools both safe and comfortable for our youth and those who are employed at these facilities, is more important now than ever before. Action is necessary. Let NGS help you get there. Find out more about our building perimeter hardening assessments here.