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WTVM Editorial 05/31/22: Hardening School Security

Published: May. 31, 2022 at 2:27 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - There are many major failures from every deadly school shooting - including failures of mental health care, critical lapses in school security and the purchase of guns by troubled young people.

And there is no one solution.

But we can do something - get serious about hardening our schools against being easy targets of crazed killers.

We have fences around federal buildings, armed guards at banks, elaborate security around courthouses and even some office buildings…where there is always just one entrance and visitors are monitored before they even walk in.

Yet we put our most precious people, our priceless children, in schools like the one in Texas, where the gunman easily gained entry through an unlocked door.

Apparently, no one even saw him coming.

One company that specializes in making schools safer says the best strategy is creating school security that has a good chance of helping prevent an attack BEFORE it happens.

To succeed, those experts say there are four key security goals:

  • Deny access
  • Deter the attack
  • Delay an attack
  • Defend against an attack

Denying access means creating and enforcing strict one-entrance locations, with foolproof locks, fortified doors, and even armed security on active watch.

Surveillance cameras must be constantly monitored to see attackers coming before they can gain entry.

Deterring an attack means creating serious obstacles and barriers that turn killers away. Things like solid, heavy metal doors and bulletproof glass on the inside and outside of a school that make it too difficult to penetrate.

If the coward killer can’t get in, he can’t kill.

Delaying an attack can work, too, if there are enough layers of security.

If someone manages to breach one level of security, there needs to be more - to slow the attacker and give police more time to respond.

Things like a centralized locking system, impenetrable interior doors and sophisticated interior surveillance and communications equipment so the good guys gain and keep control of the situation.

Defending against an attack can be successful, too, when school employees are given specialized training in how to run, hide or fight.

Active shooters can be distracted enough by the right kind of fighting, keeping the killer off balance and vulnerable. Make them the prey.

Schools advertised as gun-free zones just advertise the softness of the target.

Harden the schools now. We must protect our precious and irreplaceable children.

It’s at least one approach to a very complicated problem.

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