- Approaches to school security are continuing to evolve heading into 2018, with a shift toward locally-controlled, situation-based strategies over universal, centrally controlled lockdowns, Ron Baer, the K-12 Director of Business Development for ASSA ABLOY, which manufactures entrance systems, writes in an eSchool News article.
- Alongside the situational awareness shift, other trends include new approaches to building design that expand visitor management abilities and involving teachers and other staff members working directly in buildings to be involved in decisions regarding safety procedures.
- Baer writes that better relationships are also needed between districts and manufacturers to ensure that products are addressing needs and challenges, and that the necessary supports are in place for each building's unique situation.
School security can sometimes prove to be a difficult line to tread. On one hand, you want students to have a safe and secure environment to learn in. On the other, you don't want the school building to feel akin to a prison with the amount of cameras, metal detectors and security personnel present. Architectural styles, like brutalism, present in some older buildings can add to that feeling.
This balance is further complicated by a range of school shooting tragedies over the past decade, from Columbine to Sandy Hook, that bred demands for higher-security environments. With open classroom designs on the rise, however, it's likely that many newer school buildings could also be designed with a greater number of potential emergency exits to minimize threats in such a situation, should it happen. Many school districts have also considered whether to arm and train educators.
The push for greater social-emotional learning in schools, however, has come with the contention that these incidents can be prevented before they happen if more focus is placed on empathy, compassion and teaching students to recognize warning signs in their peers. Curbing the bullying situations that have sometimes led to these tragedies is perhaps the first step administrators should consider alongside new approaches to building design and security tech.