School Security Bill passes through Senate Committee
by Paul Kazlauskas
There is an important school security bill, recently approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support, which would provide $40 million of federal funding annually to communities and schools to install a variety of security solutions. These security solutions include things like visitor management systems and surveillance cameras. Administrators will now have more access to federal funding (assuming it passes a full Senate vote) to assist with the purchase of the security equipment they need. That is a great start, but School Administrators don’t necessarily know what they need.
That is why the more important part of the security bill involves helping schools conduct security assessments and provide training for teachers. Schools could also apply for “Secure our Schools” grants through the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice would partner with the Department of Education to form a joint task force that would develop advisory guidelines. These guidelines would then be passed along to schools.
“This legislation will reauthorize the successful ‘Secure Our Schools Program’, a program that has gone unfunded the past 2 years”, says SIA CEO Don Erickson. “As a parent of school-aged children, I am pleased to see the Senate act swiftly and in a bipartisan manner”.
A security assessment is a valuable tool in evaluating the safety of a school and pointing out vulnerabilities, threats and risks. A security program’s objective should be to deter, delay, detect, deny, respond to, and recover from a security incident. Before a solution is considered, the problem must be understood. The best way is with a professionally conducted security assessment, which examines these five areas:
1. Assets: your people, buildings, and equipment, otherwise known as “targets”.
2. Threats: from natural disasters or humans.
3. Vulnerabilities: weaknesses, like an open-door policy, that make threats possible.
4. Adversary Strategies: putting yourself in the bad guys’ shoes — how might they exploit your vulnerabilities?
5. Risk Analysis: understanding consequences and what levels of risk are acceptable.
Thanks to the new security bill's promises, the federal funding should help make schools a little safer.
Posted on 4/24/2013