Assessing School Security Takes on New Dimensions after Sandy Hook Tragedy

After 30 years of security risk assessment experience and working with hundreds of schools, hospitals, facilities, I have to say that schools have not taken school security seriously.

Obviously there are the social pressures including mental health screening, proposed assault weapons bans, gun owner screening, etc., but these are the thing that won’t change overnight. EVEN IF THEY ARE LEGISLATED, it takes time to implement, and
implementation may not be perfect.

TODAY IS THE DAY TO DO A SCHOOL VIOLENCE ASSESSMENT – not tomorrow, not after new gun laws, not after the holidays — TODAY.

There are indicators you can look for to see if your school is at risk of an active shooter incident. And ways to be prepared if the unthinkable happens and an active shooter comes to your school.

Strong, simple access control is the most effective solution, and yes, this may mean that
a plain glass front door or window is not enough. Glass is easily broken, and yes, it means that all staff must be a little more accountable, and it probably means a red phone or connection to the local police.

There is a simple school risk assessment program that will give guidance on what you need to do TODAY, what controls you need to implement, what threats are most likely to occur. These can be accessed on the website.

Some things are preventable, some aren’t. But lockdown drills, alarm systems, and active monitoring of cameras are just a few of the 60 controls every school should have in place to protect our precious children.


About Caroline Ramsey-Hamilton

Caroline Ramsey-Hamilton is a leading expert in assessing risk in different areas, including security risk assessments, workplace violence and security for hospitals, cybersecurity, nuclear security, and also measuring compliance with security standards like FEMA 426-428, Joint Commission, HIPAA and OSHA. She is currently working on a universal set of easy security tools that will make it easy to assess risk in a variety of companies, agencies and business. Her company, Risk & Security LLC, works with more than 500 clients around the world using a program that standardizes site surveys and assessments and makes it easier to compare facilities and measure their level of security. Caroline is a member of the ASIS Physical Security Council, the ASIS Information Technology Security Council, the Security Assessment Risk Management Association (SARMA), and a Board member of the IAHSS (International Assoc. for Hospital Safety & Security) in Florida. She received the Distinguished Service award from the Maritime Security Council, and the ATAB Distinguished Service award in 2011. You can reach Caroline at or thru her web site at She posts breaking security & risk alerts at