Every school administrator and school board is aware of the need for security protocols to protect students from shootings, but many either don’t know where to start or don’t know if they’ve done enough. It can seem like a daunting task, but there are resources to help school leaders create environments that discourage or significantly decrease the likelihood of school shootings.
The need for intervention is critical. About 25% of mass shootings from 2000 to 2013 took place in schools, and among shooters 18 years or younger, 88% of their attacks were on their current or prior schools. School shootings aren’t limited to big cities; in fact, half of school shootings have taken place in small communities with 50,000 or fewer residents. Therefore, all schools must take precautions.
The federal government offers the Federal School Safety Clearinghouse website, SchoolSafety.gov, which provides many resources for administrators, educators, parents, and law enforcement personnel to address issues of safety, security, and support in K-12 schools.
Many school associations also provide support for schools, often offering local support and contact information to help schools develop their security and safety plans. At ZeroEyes, we recommend school administrators go through a detailed checklist to determine their strengths and their vulnerabilities, covering a multi-pronged approach including:
- Policies, Procedures, and Training including emergency protocols (such as ALICE or LEAST) and frequent security technology testing and maintenance
- Visitor Management Systems including badges and entrance controls
- Student and Staff Identification including background checks and identity cards
- Security Systems including sufficient security cameras to cover all vulnerable areas, a gun detection system such as ZeroEyes integrated with the existing security cameras, and alarm systems
- Physical Barriers including the elimination of hiding places, barriers to prevent cars from having easy access to facilities, and locks on windows and doors to prevent penetration from outside
- Personnel (Roles and Training) including sufficient security to monitor security systems and training of staff and students about the importance of complying with security procedures
- Communication Plans including immediate contact of first responders and administrators at the first appearance of a firearm on campus and ongoing communication with law enforcement (features of ZeroEyes), an automated lockdown announcement for the PA system, and sufficient authorized personnel to declare lockdown
- Critical Relationships with Local Law Enforcement and First Responders including practicing and drilling emergency protocols with first responders on campus to give students, staff, and emergency responders the most comprehensive experience
Such detailed plans should be considered at various layers: campus-wide, classroom, building perimeter, parking lots, adjunct buildings, etc.
Creating a thorough threat assessment protocol and developing a comprehensive security plan to deter mass shootings take time and attention to detail, but they are critically important for the safety of your staff and students. The ZeroEyes gun detection AI can be an important part of your security, but many other factors should also be in place. Contact us to see how we can help you create the safest environment for your students and staff.