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School Security

During the nineties, Americans across the country witnessed the horror of high school youth go bad. News agencies across the country reported breaking news as each incident occurred. The cities where these incidents occurred became common places of interest, due to the incidents that occurred. Places such as Columbine, Colorado; Fayetteville, Tennessee and Edinboro, Pennsylvania, will never be forgotten (Ortmeier 00). The horrible incidents that occurred involved the senseless wounding and murder of teachers, students, and faculty. Almost every incident involved a handgun, rifle, or shotgun. How these youth obtained these weapons is not the question. The question is, what measures could have been taken at the school to avoid these disasters with out nullifying the 4th amendment? Security measures and devices placed in schools provide a safe school environment that could prevent the threat of further disastrous situations.

School security and safety is a major concern in the United States. Not only is a very important concern but it is also a legal concern. Schools are like safe-havens for kids. A place to go and be themselves, to learn and to be comfortable doing so. The events that took place in the nineties almost toppled these feelings. Parents were on edge not knowing whether their child would be back home safe that day. Providing a physically and psychologically safe school, I feel should be a priority of all school administrations.

Administrators, teachers, parents and the public have a responsibility to ensure that our schools are safe and secure places for our children (Safe Schools). How do we do ensure this? Recent studies indicate, students are three times more likely to be victims of nonfatal serious violent crime away from school than at school (Safe Schools). So if this is the case, why is school safety and security a major concern? It is widely known that students suffer from student crime. Student crime consists of theft, vandalism and drug sales to name a few. With these crimes occurring in our schools it has been found that students seem less safe (Safe Schools). Moore states that in a recent study, percent of respondents report that school safety has a strong impact on academic performance. I feel this a highly important topic to promote school safety and security.

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Providing a safe and secure school that ensures a student will feel comfortable begins with access. Access to the school, I feel, is the most simple form of security. However, the type of structure can make this the most difficult challenge (Key to Security). The most important feeling to establish within the building is if the occupants feel safe. According to Garver utilizing a Facilities Security Worksheet can simplify the decision making process. Garver explains that there is six-security objectives within this thought process. They are authorized access, key control, user friendly, serviceable, audit trail and time zones (Key to Security). Discussing the first and the most basic objective, access control, can be simply achieved. Access control is probably the highest level of security. Garver explains that utilizing this objective authorizes access to a specified area only to selected individuals (Key to Security). If all accesses to the facility were controlled to only allow one major entrance, I feel would be a start for providing a safe school. Obviously, many factors need to be taken into consideration such as emergency exit access. However, todays security technologies make this a very easy task.

Controlling access as previously discussed is just a start in providing a safe and secure school. If you think about the incidents that occurred in the nineties, you will remember that they involved weapons. Once again, how could this have been prevented? Before these incidents occurred, the thought of providing security technology in our schools would never have been heard. It was often considered that doing so would make the school a prison. And the infringement of students rights was often considered. When discussing security technology for school facilities, we are discussing video cameras, metal detectors and mobile communication systems (Security Technologies).

Video cameras can provide students and teachers with a sense of safety and have been proven to be a deterrent to crime (Security Technologies). It is common knowledge that no one wants to be caught on tape. Video cameras provide hard evidence of the crime and it is very easy to prove guilt. In the article School Technologies, it recommends that cameras be placed in cafeterias, parking lots, hallways, computer rooms and areas where valuable equipment is kept.

Metal detectors are another security source of concern. Metal detectors can detect the presence of firearms, knives and weapons. There are pros and cons involved in the use of metal detectors. Building layout and experienced operators are two main factors to consider (Security Technologies). When considering the building layout the students access to the school is important. Long lines while waiting to enter the school could cause problems.

Communications systems are another source of security technology. Communications systems include phones, intercoms, call buttons and duress alarm devices (Security Technologies). Phones provide a means of summoning outside assistance such as police, fire or rescue. Call buttons are used within the classroom as a means for teachers to communicate with the administration office (Security Technologies). And duress alarms are strategically mounted buttons that notify the proper authorities that there is a problem (Security Technologies). Utilizing any or all of these communications systems not only make the school a safer environment but also summons help within minutes.

I have discussed the use of access control, security devices such as metal detectors and video cameras and the use of communications systems. These are just a few basic forms of security that can provide a safe environment for our students and faculty. I feel the most important point to keep in mind when planning school security is to think the worst. Using security assessments and lessons learned from previous incidents will prevent, if not eliminate, further disasters. School administrations cannot believe that wont happen to us. They need to take school security as an important objective in providing a safe environment and secure the thoughts of those in attendance.

Works Cited

Ortmeier, P.J.. Security Management An Introduction. New Jersey Upper Saddle River, 00.

Safe and Secure Schools. Ed. Deborah P. Moore. Oct 000 . InfoTrac. 10 Mar. 00



Security Technologies Cameras, Metal Detectors, Communication Systems. Ed. School

Planning and Management. Oct 000 . InfoTrac. 10 Mar. 00



Whats the Key to Your Security. Ed. Lee A. Garver. Oct 000 . InfoTrac. 10 Mar. 00



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