With the school year coming to an end across the country, many districts are looking at ways to increase school security and student safety at their facilities. In a recent article entitled Designing Schools As a Deterrent For Mass Shooters in Interiors + Sources Magazine, the topic of utilizing facility design and retrofittable technologies like security window film to make it harder for someone to commit violent attacks in a school environment was discussed.
One item that was raised in the article was the topic of making it harder for someone to commit the crime by hardening the facility to restrict entry. From the article, Sean Ahrens, security market group leader for Affiliated Engineering Incorporated (AEI), said, “Regrettably, in this day and age, [those who don’t think it could happen to them] are the weakest neighbors. When you think of an aggressor, [they think in] the path of least resistance. Are they going to go to the most hardened facility, or are they going to go to the facility that’s easiest to get into?”
With respect to hardening a facility and making it harder to gain entry, this is precisely what security window film can do. In a recent article in Business Insider entitled Here are the Best Ways to Protect Schools, Workplaces, and Ourselves from Active Shooters, the author states “Protective and intrusion resistant doors and windows create delays in an aggressor’s ability to gain entry. For pre-existing locations the addition of protective window film, improved locking mechanisms and / or frames as well as other reinforcement techniques can be effective.”
Security window films can be installed as a retrofit to a school’s existing doors and windows. These films can come in clear, tinted or reflective depending on the application and preference.
When someone tries to gain access through the glass of a protected door or window, the film would allow the glass to break, but it would maintain the glass in the frame. With work, this film / glass combination can eventually be penetrated to gain access, but as stated above, the objective is to create resistance. Slow the entry down. Give school officials and authorities time to act.
In the Interiors + Sources article, Julia McFadden, AIA—associate principal at Svigals + Partners who recently designed the new Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. stated, “You want to have layers between someone who may be coming to the school with ill intent and the vulnerable population. The more opportunities or barriers gives you more time to react and determine if there is ill intent before they reach the target.”
She goes on to say “Retrofit situations may call for applied window films or improved glazing. Interior partitions and some furnishing may also improve the school’s readiness in emergency situations.”
The hard realities of a tragedy like a violent attack at a school is that there is not a one size fits all solution. As these articles discuss, solutions to improve school security must be thought of in layers. We must make a school an unattractive target for any potential aggressor. The design and technologies utilized must work together to buy the individuals inside the school and authorities time to respond to the threat. In these situations, every moment matters. While we do not claim that these films are the sole solution, they can provide a valuable layer of protection that works in conjunction with other design elements and technologies to improve school security and student safety.
If you would like more information or have any questions about how window film can improve school security and student safety, please contact us by calling (716) 875-5408. We would be happy to provide you with a free property assessment and estimate at your Buffalo, NY area school.