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A “Rings of Security” Approach to School Safety

As incidents of violence at schools continues on, some locations are taking a new approach. “Research reveals that the average duration of an active shooter incident at a school is 12.5 minutes. In contrast, the average response time for law enforcement is 18 minutes.”[1] We must do something different if we are really going to address this 5.5 minute difference.

Responding to a threat does not have to be just reactionary, but what if we were able to respond well before violence made its way into our schools? What if the work could be done well before the person seeking to do harm even got close?

Many districts have elected to take a more holistic approach to campus safety. The police chief of Glynn County Schools in Brunswick Georgia recently said, 'You’ve got to look beyond someone coming in the school and doing something bad.” The chief implemented a “rings of security” concept made popular in war zones around the world. The idea is to keep the danger out of reach. The approach focuses on the multiple, overlapping elements of security that need to be in place to keep schools safe. The outermost ring consists of cyber-security, social media monitoring and other technology. The inner perimeter ring consists of physical barriers. The final, innermost ring is the human element — school staff and students.[2]

Unfortunately, we will not be seeing an end to violence at our schools anytime soon, but through re-imagining our approach to the problem, we may be able to keep the danger further away, and our kids safer.



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