Protecting our future : developing a national school security standard
Donaghey, Michael J.
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This research examines the risk to schoolchildren posed by hostile intruders and the implementation of a national school security standard designed to mitigate this vulnerability and evaluates the utility of innovative perimeter security strategies modeled to reduce risk while preserving the requisite academic environment. This project originated after the mass murder of 20 defenseless first-graders and six heroic faculty members at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. A methodological analysis of existing school security policy was utilized to define the problem, to evaluate the variance between school communities, and to construct plausible alternative strategies. This project sought to enhance the understanding of risk management, offer strategic insight to decision makers and key stakeholders, and provide meaningful options for future school security planners. The literature on this subject demonstrates that traditional school security guidance is provided to local school districts by an array of federal agencies. It is primarily focused on incidents of peer hostility and gang violence, and there has been marginal attention given to an attack perpetrated by an adult intruder that is unaffiliated with the targeted school. This type of violence is infrequent, but the extreme consequences evoke emotions similar to terrorist attacks in creating public fear, often leading to rash and reactive decisions. Many parents trust leaders in the academic community to care for their children and provide them a safe and secure environment. This expectation of protection has become a significant responsibility for school officials, and the establishment of a national school security standard, complete with guidelines and oversight, would help ease this burden and change the present school security narrative.
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