According to a retired Secret Service agent, Parkland’s Marjorie Stoneman Douglass staff was well
aware of the lack of security as much as 60 days before the fatal shooting took place. The former agent, Steve Wexler,
was invited to review the high school for security and he reported numerous weaknesses to the MSD staff including:
“Gates were unlocked. Students did not wear identification badges. A fire alarm could send students streaming into the halls. Active-shooter drills were inadequate,” he said.
In addition, he noted, “This stuff is blatantly obvious. You’ve got to fix this,’” Wexler said. He never
heard from the school again. His recommendations included:
1. School gates should be locked, and students should wear ID badges showing they belong on campus.
The shooter on Feb. 14 was able to get on campus because the gates were opened at the end of the school day.
Active-shooter drills should be routine. After the shooting, some students said they had not been involved
in drills this year.
Any adult should be able to declare a Code Red to lock down the school. Clark, the school district spokeswoman, said that is the current protocol, but Wexler said he was told an assistant principal notifies the principal, who then makes the call. “That’s a problem,” he said he told the staff. “This stuff happens fast. This playing telephone is no good. By that time we could sit down and have breakfast.”
Schools should not immediately evacuate students for a fire alarm without first confirming there’s a fire. During the shooting, the gunfire set off the smoke alarm, and students fled into the halls, where the shooter could take aim.
LESSONS LEARNED 1. If you have a security iny weaknesses identified by an expert – TAKE THEIR ADVICE AND
fix the issues that were identified!
Liability increases if staff were clearly warned BEFORE an incident that there were
existing security weaknesses.
SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD ACTIVE SHOOTER AT SANTA FE, TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL KILLS 10,
INJURES 13, AFTER STUDYING MASS SHOOTING TECHNIQUES FROM NEWS REPORTS
RISKAlert Report #1035 Updated: May 20, 2018 Santa Fe, Texas
At 7:25 am on a Friday morning in Santa Fe, Texas, a 17-year-old student walked into his classroom, wearing a trench coat and armed with his dad’s Remington 970 shotgun and .38 caliber pistol that he used to shoot 23 people inside his school. Ten were killed and 13 were injured in the planned shooting. Armed officers responded within four minutes and a gun battle
ensued with the subject.
Although a romantic failure may have triggered the attack, the shooter had long been a fan of active shooters and studied previous shootings, like pulling of the fire alarms in the recent Parkland shooting. He wore a trenchcoast, mirroring the horrific Columbine High School shooting in April, 1999, in which two teenage boys with weapons hidden under trench coats killed 12 students and one teacher
According to a witness, the shooter yelled “WOO HOO”, as he shot up the classroom. Multiple media accounts say the gunman taunted some of his victims, asking some hiding in a closet if they wanted to answer their ringing cell phones. “You want to get that?” the attacker said, according to The Wall Street Journal.
He spared others saying he wanted his story told. Police also found five homemade pipe bombs that did not detonate.
The shooter had pursued a romantic interest, Shana Fisher, for the past four month, according to her mother, but she refused to date him.Shana was shot and killed in the incident. Her mother said that the previous week, her daughter, Shana, has said in media accounts that her 16-year-old daughter had rejected four months of aggressive advances from Pagourtzis.
Fisher finally stood up to him in front of the entire class, and proclaimed she would never go out with him, embarrassing him in class, her mother told the Los Angeles Times.
Many of the aspects of the attack mirrored one of the worst school shootings in American history: the massacre at Columbine High School in April, 1999, in which two teenage boys with weapons hidden under trenchcoats killed 12 students and one teacher.
1. Even with a relatively quick 4-minute response time, there were still 10 killed and 13 injured, demonstrating that even a well-armed police officer cannot quickly stop the killing, once shooting starts!!
Texas State officials blamed the attack on video games, on abortions, and on too many entrances and exits
to the high school buildings, even though the school lacked any access control, no metal detection and
no screening of any kind.
Underage students should not have ready access to firearms. The shooter’s parents apparently missed the fact that he assembled pipe bombs in his bedroom, had access to guns, and avidly recounted mass shootings.
Why are parents fined if their child is late in returning a library book, but not if their child shoots
and kills people with daddy’s guns?
The massacre claimed Shana Fisher’s life, and also claimed the lives of students Sabika Sheikh, a Pakistani exchange student; Chris Stone; Jared Black, Angelique Ramirez; Christian Riley Garcia; Aaron Kyle McLeod; and Kimberly Vaughan. Teachers Glenda Ann Perkins and Cynthia Tisdale were also killed.
The people hospitalized included retired Houston police Officer John Barnes, who served as a resource officer at the school and confronted the gunman.
Pagourtzis did not attempt suicide, like the Columbine shooters, but Texas’ governor, Greg Abbott, a Republican, told reporters that the youth wanted to kill himself, citing the suspect’s journals, but lacked the courage to do so.
Dimitrios Pagourtzis, is being held without bail and is accused of capital murder of multiple people and aggravated assault on a public servant. he suspect won’t face the death penalty if he is convicted. Under Texas law, offenders who are under age 18 and charged with a capital offense face a maximum punishment of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years.
“Good Guy with Gun” Didn’t Work at Parkland’s School Shooting Sheriff’s Deputy was Armed and
On site During Incident, but Stayed Out to Save Himself, Leaving Students and Staff to Die
RISKAlert Report Updated: Feb 23, 2018
According to Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, there was an armed Sheriff’s deputy on the scene of the Parkland Massacre.
He stood outside while the shooter hunted down and murdered seventeen children and staff members. The deputy could hear the screaming and the gunfire. But he let the shooting carry on for minutes that literally meant life or death.
“I’m Devastated. Sick to my stomach. There are no words. These families lost their children. We lost coaches. I’ve been to the funerals,” Sheriff Israel, obviously shaken, said at a press conference on Thursday. Asked what the officer should have done, Israel responded, “Went in. Addressed the killer. Killed the killer.”
The cowardly deputy, Scott Peterson, who left the children to fend for themselves, was put on administrative leave and now has resigned. A security camera caught the deputy outside the building, within earshot of the shootings.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, other issues in the law enforcement response have come to light, including two other deputies were placed on restricted duty on Thursday because they may have mishandled tips called in to the sheriff’s office over the past two years warning that the suspect, Nikolas Cruz, appeared intent on becoming a school shooter, Sheriff Israel said
1. ACCESS CONTROL MAKES THE DIFFERENCE. Obviously, arming teachers
won’t work. Metal detectors work 100% of the time, and don’t hang back in
the parking lot.
2. Starting Monday, we can help schools LOCK THEIR DOORS, get some basic Access Controls in place, and commit to PROTECTING THESE STUDENTS!
As an active shooter expert, the last thing I expected yesterday was a shooting in my own neighborhood. I left a meeting at about 2:30 ET and noticed that there were sirens and emergency vehicles everywhere. They were racing to respond to an alert at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., which has now become the site of one of the worst school shootings in American history.
Parkland is an affluent residential community that backs up to the Everglades. The school was named to honor Stoneman Douglas, an environmentalist who fought to protect Florida’s Everglades. In fact, just this week, the city was ranked as the 15th safest city in America and one of the safest cities in Florida.
But it could not be protected from an active shooter. Minutes after the ambulances flew by; I got the alert on my phone: an active shooter situation practically in my own backyard. By the next morning, we knew much more.
Initially, it was reported as one person dead but by late last night, however; the number had ballooned to 17 students and staff killed, and fifteen more in the hospital. It was the 18th school shooting of 2018, which averages out to almost one every other day so far this year.
A former student, identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, was arrested near the school. He allegedly entered the school with the other students and pulled the fire alarm, so they would run out into the hall where he opened fire. In addition to shooting students inside the building he also reportedly took aim at victims as they attempted to flee the hail of gunfire.
A student interviewed by the media said he knew the kid who had the gun, and that the student had shown him photos of guns on his phone. Cruz’s Instagram account also reportedly featured not only photos of guns, but of frogs and lizards he had tortured and then killed. According to published reports, he had posted on social media: “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”
Many students who were interviewed yesterday and today said the shooter was someone they thought might have been a dangerous person. He had a troubled background, including behavioral problems, and had been recently expelled from the school.
As politicians on every TV channel discussed the future of gun control, the political aspects of America’s gun problem and the role of the National Rifle Association in effectively blocking gun legislation, the real truth is that we need to protect schools now, not fight endlessly about long term solutions. The great technological advances in security have created realistic security solutions that can better protect students and schools today.
Immediate Steps to Shore Up School Security
Access control is the starting point. If you can’t control access, anyone can bring any kind of guns into our schools. Stand-alone metal detectors are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. Wand scanners could be deployed tomorrow. Backpacks and cases need to be scanned or opened.
Limit and alarm entrances to the schools. No school is secure if there are multiple entrances, and if anyone can enter the school undetected. All exterior doors should be locked 100 percent of the time, not propped open, and doors should be checked weekly to make sure they close effectively.
Actively monitor security cameras. Cameras should be set up for active monitoring on every egress door, so that if a shooter somehow gets in, they can be discovered at the first shot and then isolated so that students are removed from the immediate area. Students could have been prevented from putting themselves in harm’s way, or even rescued.
Leverage gunshot detection solutions. Gunshot detection software can alert at the sound of the first round fired.
Color photo ID badges should be issued to every student and worn at all times. They cost almost nothing and instantly help to keep people out who should not be in the facility, such as the shooter who carried out this massacre.6. Use bullet-resistant backpacks and white boards. Though they can’t stop a gunman, these products can help children and staff protect themselves when all else fails.
Florida schools are required to “lockdown” if an active shooter code is called. This is not an effective procedure and the number of victims in the Parkland massacre show that it is ineffective. It does not limit the shooter once they are inside the facility and it prevents students from being able to exit quickly.
Once again, as was the case in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, we saw law enforcement holding back instead of entering the school sooner and finding and eliminating the shooter before he kills more students and then just strolls away down the street.
Long Term Solutions
Long term solutions should always be pursued but they must include a national discussion on access to lethal and automatic weapons. More stringent background checks need to be implemented, as we have seen with every active shooter incident, including the 2013 shooting at Los Angeles International Airport, the aforementioned massacre at the Pulse nightclub and even the 2016 New York bombing in which the suspect’s father called the FBI to report his child was planning to kill people and nothing was done.
These are long-term political solutions, but the conversation today and tomorrow and the day after that needs to be about preventing school shootings and mass casualty events, which require the implementation of mandatory controls/solutions that can be deployed tomorrow, not in three years.
Back in Parkland, this close knit community has been terrorized and there is no resolution. The most aggravating thing about the Parkland massacre is: one more time, it’s too late. No matter how many drills and training were done, it didn’t help.
About the Author:
Caroline Ramsey-Hamilton is a risk expert and Futurist, who creates innovative facility security risk assessment solutions, including how to prevent active shooters and workplace violence in healthcare, education, government, and manufacturing sectors. As part of the DoD Defense Industrial Base, she lives in South Florida near Parkland, and works every day to keep people safe.
Parkland Deadly School Shooting 2 miles from me and here’s what I saw for
Valentine’s Day – BULLETS NOT FLOWERS at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas
3rd Deadliest School Shooting in History – called a SCHOOL MASSACRE
I live right next to Parkland, FL and was out shopping at 2:30 when I heard the sirens from about a dozen
police cars and emergency vehicles. They followed the street right by my house, and as soon I got home,
I checked the TV and saw what had happened – another deadly School Shooting.
Parkland is usually so quiet, just YESTERDAY it was named safest city in the US. Another student said he
knew the kid who had the gun, and that the student had shown him photos of guns on his phone.
The shooter, now identified as Nikolas Cruz, was caught in his care close to the school, and has been
charged in court. Fifteen others are till in the hospital.
I could see the police helicopter from my upstairs window.
So when I do active shooter assessments for healthcare
and other critical organiztions all day, and write about these incidents every day and night.
Here’s the real thing – right next to me!
My kids are out of school, but my hear still stopped, and I wanted to call every parent I know and check on their kids. I dread seeing the list of the injured. My grandson’s classmate’s father was killed. He was a coach at the high school.
So now this close knit community has been terrorized and there is no resolution. The person in custody is only
19-20 years old himself, and, accordingly to one of his friends, thought that having guns was ‘really cool’.
Well – it’s not really cool. It’s really horrible, really stupid.
The most aggravating thing about this is: One more time, it’s too late. No access control = high chance of
active shooter. No checking or scanning backpacks and here’s what you get. Dead and injured children
FORGET WHY he did it — WE OWE IT TO OUR CHILDREN TO PUT PREVENTION FIRST!
This can happen anywhere, and it just happened again!
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe or get more information on RISKAlerts, and a new complete Active Shooter-
Workplace Violence Assessments, Training and Improved Emergency
RISKAlert Report # 1005 January 25, 2018 Benton, Kentucky
KENTUCKY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT KILLS TWO, INJURIES EIGHTEEN (18)
IN DEADLY ATTACK
A 15-year old teenage boy, armed with a handgun, opened fire on Tuesday inside Marshall County High
School, killing two classmates and wounding 18 others. He has not been named yet, but the Assistant Country
Attorney Jason Darnall said he will be charged as an adult.
I talked to a mother with children at the high school, and she described the extreme panic and fear that gripped the community, where parents didn’t know whether their child was dead or alive.
The unnamed student entered the school’s common area are started shooting, before entering the main building. According to student Bryson Conkwright, a junior at the school, said he was talking with a friend on Tuesday morning when he spotted the gunman walking up near him. “It took me a second to process it,” Mr. Conkwright, 17, told law enforcement.
“One of my best friends got shot in the face, and then another one of my best friends was shot in the shoulder.” He said he was part of a group of students who fled, kicked down a door to get outside and ran.
This was the 16th mass shooting in the U.S. in 2018!
1. Every school should be required to have instant lockdown. This shooter was able to fire his weapon over and over, from outside to inside the school.
2. The school’s communication system was deficient. It should have sent texts to all students directing them to an area of refuge, and updating frantic parents.
For more information and more great content: www.riskandsecurityllc.com or www.caroline-hamilton.com
To subscribe: write to email@example.com
We provide in-depth security risk assessments, Active Shooter assessments, emergency preparedness risk assessments for clients around the world, that meet compliance requirements and directly reduce liability!
When I turned on the news today, I was in the middle of writing an article on the 2nd Shooting
at Ft. Hood from last week, and then saw that there had been a violent knife attack at a
Pennsylvania high school, with 20 casualties and at least eight injured critically, the next day,
there was a hate crime shooting at the Jewish community center in Overland Park, Kansas.
Once again, we see violence on a mass scale, the FBI has been brought in, and next will come
information on the victims. With two major events, in two weeks, what can we deduce about the
security in place at both Franklin Regional High School, Pennsylvania, and Fort Hood, Texas.
NEWS FLASH: THE CURRENT SECURITY MODEL IS NOT WORKING!
CURRENT SECURITY MODELS
Disaster preparedness is improving, Emergency Management is working, but security is still not where it needs to be. It is a systemic problem based on the fact that security around
the U.S. is still locked in a REACTIVE mode, not a PROACTIVE mode.
The main reason for this reactive mode in security organizations, is because most security
officers come from a law enforcement background, with a model which is based on crimes
and arrests, and it is totally REACTIVE. A crime happens and police officers go into action
and arrest the perpetrator(s).
CRIME HAPPENS = PERP IS IDENTIFIED = PERP IS ARRESTED
Unfortunately, this reactive model does not work for preventing security incidents and mass violence
because it is INCIDENT DRIVEN, not Risk-Driven. It focuses on individuals, not on a more holistic,
generalized view of Threats, and it totally leaves Solutions (Controls) out of the equation.
After studying pages of after action reviews, post-incident analyses and media sources, the one
recommendation that makes sense is that organizations need to switch to a RISK-BASED,
PROACTIVE mode for security to work.
This was highlighted in a remark made by a Pentagon official, commenting on the 2nd Fort Hood
Shooting on April 2, and the fact that new DOD recommendations for security, had just been released.
“After the Navy Yard shooting in September 2013, another round of recommendations were made to improve security at all DOD installations, however, a Pentagon official said thatthe new
recommendations had not yet been put into effect at Fort Hood. At Fort Hood, very little had
changed from 2009 regarding security procedures for soldiers at the entrance gates.”
The question for the Department of Defense is “how could this happen again at the same military
base? I took extra time to study the 89-page document called An Independent Review “Protecting
the Force”, one of 3 reports created after the initial Fort Hood Shooting, whene 13 were killed, and
If you look at the recommendations, they are very bureaucratic and procedural. They could have
been written by an efficiency expert, not by anyone with a background in security, and covered things
like policy changes, and having screening for clergy and psychologists, and improved mental health
programs. These are all important, but they do not provide a secure environment.
The LAX after action analysis’ Number One recommendation was to change
the security focus to a Risk-Based approach.
The problem with a reactive approach is that you can’t screen and lock down everyone. At Fort
Hood, for example, there are 80,000 individuals living on the base, and probably hundreds of
visitors who go in and out every day. It’s impossible to assess the mental health, and the
‘intentions’ of all of them.
That’s why a Risk-Based Approach works – because it focuses on the potential threats and then evaluates the existing controls to see whether they offer the required amount of protection based on the likelihood of the threat occurring.
You stop violent events by controlling access and by controlling weapons. No matter how unpopular they are, you use metal detectors at certain points, you use security officers at key entrances, you control entrances and exits.
Once the event starts, you can improve security by having faster notification (panic alarms), ability
to block, or disable weapons and attackers, adequate transport, better emergency response, but to
avoid the violence, you need to have strong access control.
The Risk-Based approach makes use of annual risk assessments that are holistic in nature. They
are not done in stovepipes, they include the entire organizations, they include input from staff
members, visitors, students, vendors, soldiers, patients on how they see security from their point
of view, which is always dramatically different from management or administration.
A risk-based approach requires an organization to:
Define potential security risks.
Develop standardized risk assessment processes, for gathering and
analyzing information, and use of analytical technology
Risk-Based Security focuses on PREVENTION OF NEW INCIDENTS
whether they are active shooter, general violence, etc.
Enhances security’s ability to rapidly respond to changes in the threat environment.
MORE BANG FOR THE BUCK
According the LAX (LAWA) after action report, “Simply adding more security does not
necessarily provide better security. Determining priorities and where to achieve great
value for the dollars invested requires regular, systematic assessment of the likelihood
and consequences (risks) associated with a range of threat scenarios that morph and
change more quickly now than ever before.
Collaborative engagement in a security risk assessment process across the community builds
the buy-in needed to develop and sustain a holistic security program over time. Leaders must
be open to challenging established practices and demonstrate a willingness to change direction”.
Making the switch to a Risk-Based security program is the best recommendation for those who
want to protect their staff, students, patients, vendors, clients, soldiers, and visitors from a mass
casualty event, or for all the organizations who don’t want to have a terrible incident happen in
the first place!
Just the idea of an Active Shooter in your organization, whether you’re a military base, like Fort Hood, and the Washington Navy Yard, or a school like Sandy Hook, a beauty shop, a cracker factory in Philadelphia, a retail mall, a movie theatre, a grocery store parking lot, or a hundred other places, is a terrifying thought.
I lived about 3 miles from one of the shooting sites, a gas station, used by the Beltway Snipers back in October, 2002. They killed ten people, totally at random, and critically injured three others. Both of the snipers were sentenced, and John Muhammad was killed by lethal injection in 2009.
If you lived in the DC area, do you remember how scary it was just to pump gas into your car, people were huddled against the side of their cars in the gas stations, and hidden by their shopping carts at the local Home Depots.
The fear of the Active Shooter comes from the seeming randomness of the action, which means there’s no way to prevent it, unless you give up, stay home, and hide under the bed all day.
But there are things you can do. Instead of thinking of an Active Shooter incident as a totally unique situation, it’s really a form a Workplace Violence, Gas Station Violence, Parking Lot Violence and other related forms of random violence. In fact, the Department of Homeland Security has identified quite a few steps you can take to keep yourself safer if you are in the vicinity of an active shooter (http://www.dhs.gov/active-shooter-preparedness).
Most of the shooters are mentally ill. Normal individuals do not enjoy planning and killing strangers, and it is usually a last ditch effort, with the suicide of the shooter as the grand finale. Their actions can sometimes be identified early, and the police can be alerted, or the Human Resources group at work, or even the local Sheriff can intervene before it gets to the actual shooting.
Signs that someone is having trouble negotiating their life, especially if that someone is a gun fanatic, with their living room full of AK-47 assault weapons and hollow point bullets, is not hard to spot, because these individuals often leave lots of warning signs, like:
Irrational Posts on Facebook or inappropriate tweets.
Threats made against friends and family.
A dropoff in personal hygiene, as the person gets more obsessed.
Problems negotiating their personal life.
Demonstrating signs of isolation and groundless paranoia
Organizations can protect themselves from an potential active shooter through a combination of specific controls that include elements like access control, continuous monitoring of cameras, employee awareness and training programs, clear cut evaluation routes, regular active shooter drills, and hardening of facilities, to name a few.
One of the best preventive measures is to conduct an Active Shooter Risk Assessment, which is similar to other security analyses, except that it is focused on a particular set of threats related to an Active Shooter Incident. As part of my annual Threat Trend Reports, I’ll be releasing a new set of threat data about the Active Shooter, to help organizations calculate their risk of
having such an incident. For example, did you know that the number of active shooter incidents has jumped from 1 in 2002
to 21 incidents in 2010?
Locations have changed, too, and we found that
About 25% of active shooter incidents occur in schools,
About 25% in retail locations,and
About 37% in workplaces.
In future blogs, we’ll be looking at each element of the active shooter incident, and providing more information to keep
your organization safe.
2012 will be remembered as the Year of the Active Shooter, where terrible tragedies across our country refocused people on issues surrounding gun control. In many ways, it’s that old argument about whether the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
In many schools and hospital, it could be argued that the needs of the many to be safe, and NOT TO GET SHOT, outweigh the needs of the few – to possess assault rifles and high capacity magazines, which allow them to kill a large number of people with almost no effort.
No matter what side of the debate you fall on, the debate has certainly brought the debate back from and center.
And along the way, it took the Active Shooter threat from a phrase that only a few security people knew about, into a phrase that was trending on the web and Twitter.
Whether you are an elementary school, like Newtown, a movie theatre, like Aurora, a regional mall, mountain resort or anything else, the number one way to counter the Active Shooter threat is to increase security awareness of the staff.
I have had teachers tell me “my job is only to teach, I shouldn’t have to be responsible for security, too”.
Unfortunately, everyone has to be responsible for good security, or we are all at risk. And again, there’s the trade-off (aka, the risk calculation):
Measure the inconvenience of having to keep your eyes open and be willing to report any suspicious behavior VS. being a casualty of a mass shooting, or having someone you know killed.
Looks like a pretty easy calculation to me:
Small Amount of Effort (no cost) = Big Increase in Security !!
Make sure you friends, family and staff are aware of the Active Shooter Threat!
Almost one month and two days since the tragic school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, where 20 young first-graders were shot by a crazy person with an assault rifle.
That day was one of those moments that you never forget, it’s seared in your brain and you probably know EXACTLY where you were when you heard the news start to trickle out. I was at Toys R Us with my son and we were buying presents for his young twins. I was checking Twitter and I saw a brief mention of another shooting. At first it said, 3 individuals and possibly children, then 5 individuals, then 12 children and by the time our shopping trip was over, so were the lives of 26 people, mostly innocent little first-graders. And it was only a week before Christmas.
As a security person who’s done lots of security assessments, you can’t help thinking, “What went wrong?” “What could have prevented this atrocity?” And there are dozens of potential solutions and who knows what might have made a difference.
Then there’s the day that President Obama signed 23 Executive Orders to tighten up background checks on potential gun owners, keep track of who purchases guns, requiring federal agencies to make more background-check data available, requiring federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations, and providing more training for police, first responders and school officials. During his announcement, he said, “Let’s do the right thing!”.
We all want to do the right thing, but what IS the right thing, the one thing that will make a difference and significantly reduce gun violence in America?
These Executive Orders are a great start, but we all know the push-back that will come from Congress and the gun lobby, who still want to sell guns, even after they see a photo of a little girl shot, not once, but eleven times.
This was also a big wake up call for schools. The public schools, colleges and universities seem to wake up every ten years and worry about security, and then they quickly forget and back into worry about academics instead of security and gun violence. Teachers want to TEACH. Teachers often say, “Security is not my job, my job is to teach and I shouldn’t have to do anything else”.
But SCHOOL SECURITY has to be a process, not just a quick fix. All security has to be a process. The process starts with a clear policy. There has to be an approved policy, whether that policy is a federal guidelines, like FEMA 428, “Primer to Design Safe Schools”, or whether it’s a security policy that mets a schools specific needs. Without a policy, you have no place to start.
There have to be procedures written up, announced, handed out in 3-ring binders, and accompanied with education and training including drills.
There has to be training and education so people know what to do in an emergency, where to do, who to call, and how to respond.
There have to be annual security risk assessmentsto gauge the current threats, and measure the effective controls, and make the security program a process of continual improvement.
Without the foundation of policy, procedures, training, education and security assessments, it’s not a security program, it becomes just a grab bag of solutions that may or may not work.
For example – here are just a few of the point solutions we heard about today, endorsed by their own lobby groups:
Arming teachers with more guns.
Banning all guns on campuses.
Securing the school perimeter with chain link fences.
Doing more and better background checks.
Adding cameras which are constantly monitored.
Have an armed School Resource Officer on every campus.
Security Awareness courses for teachers.
Security awareness training for parents.
Giving teachers panic alarms.
Improving mental health services.
An assault weapons ban.
Banning high capacity gun clips.
If it was your children’s school or college, which of these elements would you choose?
Schools are a great leveler of our culture. Everyone has personal experience with schools. Everyone went to school once, and many have children in schools, or friends in schools, or know staff and teachers who work in schools, so schools are like a touchstone. But you could also say “Hospital”, or “Train Station”, or “County Offices” or “Movie Theatre” and to protect these things, there has to be a security program in place.
We, as the security community, are the guardians of society. We protect things of value. And nothing has more value than our children. Security has many other names like safety and emergency planning, and disaster recovery and loss prevention and risk management and violence prevention and information protection, just to name a few.
As a global security community, we should make our voices heard in this great debate, because we have the experience to know what works and what doesn’t and your voices are needed now, more than ever.
This is also a time where the public discussion of security breaks through the chatter and focuses attention on something that is critically important to everyone. Security professionals have always networked and learned from each other’s experience.
Let’s talk to each other more about what works and share this with the rest of the country.
They need us.
About the Author, “Caroline Ramsey-Hamilton is a leading expert in assessing risk facilities security, 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 has developed security programs with the National Security Agency, the U.S. Department of Defense and the National Institute of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and many other agencies, and has developed a school security risk program with Eastern Kentucky University.
Caroline is a member of the ASIS Physical Security Council, the ASIS Information Security Security Council, and on the Board of the South Florida chapter of IAHSS (International Association for Hospital Safety & Security) She received the Distinguished Service award from the Maritime Security Council, and the Anti-Terrorism Accreditation Board’s Distinguished Service award in 2011. You can reach Caroline at caroline@riskandsecurity or thru her web site at www.riskandsecurityllc.com. She posts breaking security & risk alerts at www.twitter.com/riskalert.