The Sorry State of School Security

I am saddened by today’s news of the school shooting outside of Houston. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. I had written this post yesterday but had not yet published it. Today’s tragedy makes it more poignant.  Our children will not be protected by gun free zones, universal background checks, or assault weapon bans.  They will only be made safe by proper security plans designed by professionals.  Stop berating our national politicians and the NRA for something that can be fixed in and by your local school district.  We can fix it, but we have to fix it right.

With that said, here’s the post I wrote yesterday about what schools pass off as “security” today…  

I have a number of children attending the local high school, including a pre-schooler.  The pre-school is a program run by the school for high school students that have an interest in early childhood development – whether that’s a career in teaching, pediatrics, psychology, or a number of other disciplines.

What does that have to do with school security, you may ask?

Yesterday was the last day of pre-school, so there was an “open house” for parents. My wife has told me of what she considers to be lax security at the school for quite some time, but this is the first time I experienced it.  It caused me to reflect on the entire issue as a lot of schools operate the same way as this one.

The Existing Process

Here is what the process is, under the guise of “safety.”

  • All outside doors are locked. Entrance is by buzzing in via the front door.
  • Intercom asks why you are asking for entry. (You could say anything, really. There is no validation.)
  • Door is buzzed open, there is a desk inside with a person that directs you to sign in with the office.
  • Office asks why you are there, asks for your drivers license, prints you a visitor sticker.
  • You are now free to go to your destination.

I’m pretty sure that some people may think this is secure. The door is locked from the inside. You can’t gain entry without requesting it.

And of course, no weapons are allowed. If you are carrying one, you’re supposed to leave it in your car, although no one asked me if I had one. Likewise, no one asked if I had any contraband, nor did they seem to care about my backpack or my wife’s purse either. I guess they think the “no guns” sign on the front door is enough to prevent that.

Security Full of Holes

Anyone – and I mean anyone – intent on mass carnage would be able to circumvent what this school thinks is security. And while they may end up being stopped at some point (the school does have a Resource Officer after all), they would be able to kill and maim as many as they wanted up until that point.

Even a very basic security assessment by a professional would tell you that this is ridiculously insecure.  And this happens to be a fairly affluent school district in a very populated area – in essence, it is relatively Standard Operating Procedure for this area which is hundreds of similar schools just around here. Schools all across America follow similar (lax) protocols, deceiving themselves that they are secure.

Is this the best we can do for our children?  Why is it that we seem to think that saying no guns are allowed will somehow magically stop someone shooting up schools?

Banning AR-15? That does nothing.  Ban all the weapons you want.  That will not stop the next shooting from happening because it’s not the gun that is the problem, but rather the ease of access to a soft target.

Here’s a thought. Stop grinding your teeth and hating the NRA and take a little time to place a phone call to their School Shield program. They will gladly send security professionals at no cost to your school to do a threat assessment, provide a list of security enhancements, and provide grant money to implement a better security program.