Several recent high profile school violence incidents have again highlighted the need to rethink the approach to school security. The focus for the last 25 years is to lock the problem out. This approach is needed as a layer for security but it fails to address the real problem. The violence in our schools comes from building occupants. Events in Utah (stabbing, thwarted, & shooting) and Nevada have demonstrated this point yet again as each student entered the school with a weapon unabated. Overlooking this key component continues to result in unnecessary casualties. Recognizing the problem is the first step in creating a solution.
For years there have been no viable options for schools and businesses. In the absence of alternatives the lock your doors approach was implemented. From my research I have come to understand this approach was adopted as a response to the early 90s gang violence that occurred on the streets around our schools. As a current approach it’s primary result is that it locks out emergency responders.
The basis for the approach at SafeDefend is founded in two key principles. First, the sooner law enforcement is on scene the fewer casualties are inflicted. This point is demonstrated in an analysis of school shootings from this millennium. Most shooters intend to commit as much violence up until the point police arrive at which point the perpetrator intends to kill themselves. Eliminating the need to have to pick up the phone and call 911 and explain what is going on has been shown to cut minutes off of police response. We accept this for fire emergencies by pulling an alarm but think in a violent encounter this will be done with a phone call while under duress. The reality is that this approach has delayed law enforcement response not decreased it.
The SafeDefend solution is classroom based. The simple principle is that each teacher must have the ability to sound alarms in the building, alert law enforcement and initiate a response within a moment. The SafeDefend personnel protection boxes allow all of this to occur with the swipe of a finger. Information is sent out to everyone. The teachers need to be focused on protecting students, not trying use intercom system or make 911 calls. Any delay in notification has a directly increases the number of casualties.