Schools have gone out of their way to proclaim they are “safe spaces,” enacting a wide range of misguided and often useless programs to protect students from perceived threats. So why haven’t these same schools taken the steps necessary to protect students from real threats, threats that hurt more than their feelings?

When a school bans clubs, mascots and even free speech in the name of protecting their students one would think that administrators would also do everything in their power to protect those students from physical harm as well. But as the repeated instances of school violence indicate most of the schools involved all shared a single characteristic- they were “soft” targets. The importance of this cannot be overstated because regardless of whatever additional issues may have assisted students or former students in choosing violence. They select these targets because they are available, accessible and offered the largest possibility for success. Every other terrorist look for these conditions when searching for a target.

(Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Every single time a specific location or venue has been a target of violence, especially when there are indicators it will repeat in the future, one of the first responses has been to harden the said target. When government buildings were attacked with car bombs barricades were erected. When planes were used as flying weapons security was increased, hardening the potential targets. Now, when schools are being targeted, they also need to be hardened. Hardening schools can make them less vulnerable but can be done in a way that the students and staff don’t feel as if they were prisoners. By using basic, almost common sense, security measures it can help make the schools a less attractive target, or if they are targeted lessen the potential damage.

  1. Establish a single-entry point that allows for screening of visitors before allowing access to the main building.
  2. Locking classroom doors when the class is in session lessening the possibility that anyone who makes it past the entry will still have restricted access to students.
  3. Develop security plans that include regular drills for students and staff and have that plan vetted by local and state law enforcement, those who will be responding in an emergency, to ensure it is not only viable but also manageable given their response plans.
  4. Encourage students and staff to report unusual behavior without fear that they will be fingered for doing so.
  5. Employ trained School Resource Officers and make them a fundamental part of all response plans and possible investigations of suspicious activity.

Of course, there are additional steps that can be taken, and I encourage all involved to take any and all steps they believe will help, but everyone needs to start with the basics.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell
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