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Secure the school post-Sandy Hook

Following the tragedy at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary school, the issue of school security has become the most polarizing topic of discussion in the United States. There have been many ideas and discussions about how best to safeguard our kids in school.

We're here to give some effective ways to combat the dangers that have become very real and happen far too often. Government data shows that each year, more than 800,000 students between the ages of 12 and 18 are victims of a crime in school. Other age groups only add to those figures. So even without a major crisis, it is important for each school to be equipped with the proper security tools.

Some central strategies include equipping all doors with high-security locks or electronic access control systems, monitoring visitors, and locking all unmonitored doors.

We suggest implementing a "man trap" system at the entrance of the school by interlocking two or more controlled doors and allowing only one door to be open at a time. Another option to monitor visitors entering the school is installing turnstiles, like those used in the New York Subway system, that allow only one person through at a time.

Schools should also put panic devices on all emergency exit doors that alarm when opened. These devices only allow use in one direction – with an alarmed crash bar on the inside, and no way of opening the door from the outside.

The school should also have a strict visitor policy, requiring them to show proper identification or sign in to enter. To supplement that, we recommend using a card access control system that allows access only to card holders. When the card is issued, the software records the name of the person and assigns an operational authority level. The authority level determines what doors are accessible to them and at what times. Each use of the card is also recorded, so a security administrator can track user activity if a situation warrants investigation.

Finally it’s always good to ask the local police force to send a car to patrol or park next to the school entrance during activity time.

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