Roosevelt’s Law of Task Planning–“Do what you can, where you are, with what you have”–is a half-humorous adage that originated in MIT’s spacecraft design program. But it serves just as well for school administrators as it does for rocket sciences: Budgets being what they are, politics being what they are, and the world being what it is, you need to be able to maximize school security with minimal stress to the staff, students, community, and budget.
Fortunately, an integrated security system and comprehensive security solution don’t need to be costly or cumbersome.
Entryway Modifications for Cost-Effective Security Upgrades
The vast majority of schools already funnel their students and visitors through a large entryway vestibule near administrative offices. It’s just common sense: A vestibule keeps the weather out and the AC in, and most visitors are going to want to head to the main office immediately upon entry. Converting such a vestibule into a ballistically secure barrier is a fairly simple and popular security solution:
- Replace the existing inner vestibule glass and framing with bullet resistant glazing and UL-rated frames.
- Replace the inner doors with bullet resistant doors equipped with electric strikes.
- Add a standard wall-mounted transaction window inside the vestibule.
During high-traffic periods–like morning arrival and afternoon dismissal–the doors can be kept unlocked. Otherwise, visitors need to check in at the window to be buzzed through the inner doors. Staff who need to come and go outside of office hours can do so with a swipe of their ID card.
Comprehensive Security Practices
But comprehensive security isn’t just a product you install–it’s a security mindset that guides how you manage the flow of people through the building. Its utility isn’t limited to rare, terrifying “active shooter” scenarios. Taking a comprehensive approach to building security will serve you just as well in the case of a fire or tornado, and prevents vandalism and theft just as well as it thwarts armed attacks.
Total Security Solutions CEO Jim Richards always reminds school administrators: “It’s more than just putting the ballistic glass up. We were just in a situation recently with a school where there were seven master keys out floating around. That should never happen. Each one of those keys gives whoever has it control of and access to any part of the building.”
With a well-designed secure entryway vestibule, no one ever has to hold a master key–and access is as easy to revoke as unchecking a box.
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