With the recent mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., schools across the country are re-examining the security of their buildings. It shouldn't have taken such an horrific event to have schools do this. Schools are doing everything possible, within reason, to make their buildings as safe as possible.
The major thing to look at, not addressed with most security measures, is that time between a dangerous intruder entering a building and the police getting there — anywhere from two to 15 minutes. That's when all the damage is usually done. One protective measure during that time could be an armed security person in the building. But that one person, with one weapon, would be no match for a maniac with an arsenal of weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
Most schools have a check-in point for visitors, as Sandy Hook Elementary did. But how many other entrances are unprotected? Glass can easily be broken and the building entered. It may help to have sensors on exterior glass doors that would put the building into immediate lockdown and notify police. Even then, the only thing protecting everyone is a locked door with a glass window, usually surrounded by more glass around the door.
We need to train school staff members to use makeshift weapons to reduce casualties. They are truly the first responders. As a former teacher and instructor on dealing with violence in schools, I can attest that we can do more to protect everyone.
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