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Securing School Grounds: The Role of Window Film in Building Perimeter Security

empty school halfway lined with red lockers and colored floors

Schools are meant to be safe havens for learning and community life; to achieve that ideal, they must have robust security measures in place. Fortunately, there are effective solutions you can employ to reinforce your school’s security. A practical and effective solution all schools should consider is security window film.

The Importance of Strong Perimeter Security for Schools

Someone who intends harm shouldn’t be able to easily enter a school to act on that plan, whether they’re targeting an individual or looking to commit a more widespread act of violence.

Research shows that many school shootings are committed by people who have no rightful reason to be on school property (just under half of school shootings are carried out by current or former students). Perimeter security can go a long way in preventing these incidents or in delaying intruders so faculty, staff, and students have more time to respond.

Strong perimeter security isn’t just a best practice—it’s mandated in many cases by state and local regulations. Be sure you’re aware of the safety standards that apply to your district and find any gaps in security that need to be addressed.

Some must-haves for school perimeter security include:

  • Security doors
  • Access control systems
  • Surveillance cameras
  • Motion sensors
  • Alarm systems
  • Perimeter fencing
  • Security windows or security window film

Having the right physical security measures in place can bring peace of mind to students, teachers, staff, and families, and it can help you prevent the tragedies that have become all too common for schools today.

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How Do Window Films Enhance Perimeter Security?

Some perimeter security measures can help prevent an unauthorized person from gaining access to your school grounds to begin with. However, if they are able to make it to the building, window film can play a valuable role in stopping or slowing them as they attempt to gain entry.

Security window film is an adhesive product that adds a protective layer to the interior or exterior of glass doors and windows. Window film can shore up vulnerabilities in perimeter security and enhance safety and security during times of crisis in three main ways. They can:

  1. Delay a perpetrator from entering the building, buying 2-6 minutes to enact emergency response plans and contact first responders.
  2. Reduce visibility for a perpetrator trying to see in the building to target an individual or group (this applies to one-way privacy film—an optional feature).
  3. Keep glass contained so people aren’t hurt by flying shards of glass if windows or doors are broken.

Let’s consider a hypothetical scenario to see how window film can bolster a school’s perimeter security:

Let’s say a teacher’s violent ex-partner approaches a school with the intent of gunning down the teacher (unconcerned about who else may be hurt in the process). Upon seeing the door to the school is locked, the perpetrator decides to hit the window with a crowbar to break it. The film completely prevents this tactic from working, so the perpetrator moves on to more extreme measures. 

He pulls his gun and attempts to shatter the window by firing at it. The security window film continues to thwart his plan by holding the glass together, making it difficult for him to fully break through. Even if he eventually makes it through the window, several minutes have now passed, which has allowed teachers, staff, and students to enact lockdown procedures and stay safe. Authorities have been called and arrived on-scene before the intruder is able to cause anyone physical harm.

This is just one possible scenario in the infinite list of ways a person could threaten your school community’s safety. Your school can be prepared for all of them with strong perimeter security in place.

Additional Benefits of Window Film

The benefits of window film don’t stop at security. There are some other valuable reasons to consider equipping your school with window films. Here are a few advantages to consider:

  • Energy efficiency: Some window films also provide UV protection and enhance your school’s energy efficiency, providing comfort for school occupants and lowering cooling costs.
  • Impact resistance: Violence and vandalism aren’t the only reasons glass can shatter. Window film can also contain shattered glass due to storms and other forms of impact.
  • Uncompromised aesthetic: One of the wonderful advantages of this product for school security is that‚ unlike security bars, window film maintains the aesthetic you’ve worked hard to cultivate at your school.
  • Affordability: Window film is a cost-effective solution that can be eligible for grants that make it even more affordable; this is useful if you’re working with a tight budget in your district.
  • Convenience: Another practical benefit for schools is that installing window films doesn’t involve any major renovation work and won’t disrupt your building’s functionality, meaning you can implement this solution during school hours.

Take Positive Steps Toward a Safer School

Security window film can provide an immediate upgrade to your school’s perimeter security, both deterring potential threats and buying critical time for response in emergencies. Want to learn more ways to enhance safety at your school? Get your copy of our School Safety Plan Checklist!

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