School security assessments are an invaluable tool to improve school security, school climate and school emergency preparedness. While there are some instances where school officials have no choice to do otherwise, school security assessments conducted when schools are closed are less effective. School security assessments are more effective when they are conducted when assessors can observe students and employees arriving in the morning, departing in the afternoon and moving about the school during the school day.
Having assisted in school security assessments for more than 5,000 public and non-public schools over the years, our analysts have all noted that they have more findings when assessments are conducted when schools are in session. For example, one of the most important aspects of a school security assessment involves the evaluation of student supervision. Improving student supervision helps to reduce the risk of violence, student abductions, arson, vandalism, accidental injury and a range of other crisis situations. Good student supervision also helps school employees more rapidly and effectively shelter students from a gunman, a tornado or a hazardous materials incident.
Schools should try to avoid conducting school security assessments when schools are closed even if this means delaying them until the next school year. This is especially true if major changes such as implementation of new school security technologies will be guided by the school security assessment process. Whether your school organization is an independent school or a large public school system, school security assessments conducted during the school year will yield more useful information and thus value.