Be Sure to Upgrade Human Technology When Implementing School Security Technology
Our analysts have assisted our clients with school security assessments for thousands of school facilities over the years. We also often conduct red team assessments to really put school access control and security systems to the test by posing as intruders and seeing what we are able to gain access to without being detected. We have routinely been able to beat metal detector checkpoints, visitor management systems and some of the most sophisticated access control systems.
This does not mean that school security technology is not effective or valuable. In fact, during these assessments, the technologies work as they are intended. Instead, what we find is that like actual violators, it can be easy to identify and exploit a simple gap to defeat these approaches as long as school employees have not been properly trained and empowered to support the technologies. While the quality and utility of school security and emergency preparedness technologies today is truly amazing, the capability of the human brain is truly astounding as well. And like that of our best security technologies, schools do not always make the best use of these powerful protective options. While more and more school employees are being trained in concepts like visual weapons screening, mental simulation, pattern matching and recognition, and controlled breathing, the majority of school employees in the United States have not been exposed to these life-saving concepts. School officials should take care when implementing new strategies as there are a number of popular but unproven concepts being taught while research-based and proven approaches are often overlooked.
The per capita homicide rate in our schools has declined markedly over the past three decades. Combining the effective use of appropriate school safety technologies with available information on how to improve the ability of school employees to prevent and respond to school crisis situations is one of our best opportunities to further reduce the number of serious injuries and deaths in our schools.