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School safety expert urges faculty training in addition to new security measures

Posted: 4:42 PM, Aug 20, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-20 20:53:06Z

New security measures were enforced as students of Santa Fe High School in Texas returned for the new school year Monday.

The security changes come after a student opened fire on May 18, killing 10 students.

The most noticeable security addition: metal detectors. Other renovations at the high school include the installation of bullet-proof glass, a secure entrance vestibule and even panic buttons in the classrooms. Interior doors were upgraded to lock from the inside and outside and 500 security cameras were installed district wide. Additionally, the school hired extra police offers, five of which will work fulltime.

“Well, it's a very typical reaction from what we’ve seen in a lot of schools in the wake of spring of ’18,” says Amy Klinger.

Klinger, a school safety expert with The Educator’s School Safety Network, says on one hand she’s glad to see more schools like Santa Fe investing in new measures, but she cautions money also needs to be spent on the teachers, too.

“Are we combining buying stuff with actually training people?” asks Klinger. “Probably a single point of entry is a good idea, but not if you haven't provided people with training on how to screen visitors who are coming in.”

Since teachers themselves are the first line of defense, The Educators School Safety Network is urging all schools to consider training faculty to better recognize out of ordinary behavior.

“We know that anywhere between 80 to 85 percent of all perpetrators are students in that school, so who is working with those students? Educators,” says Klinger. “So, we need to invest in those people that see those kids every single day and to give them tools and resources and training to be able to pick up on students who are at risk.”