Your safety planning responsibilities as a school administrator or staff member often involve understanding current security trends and staying compliant with your state’s specific school safety requirements. Do you know what your state requires? Are you apprised of policy changes expanding after the 2018 high school shooting in Parkland, Florida?
As you prepare to upgrade security around your campus before the school year, take the time to understand your state’s most current school safety requirements. In the content below, we look at various security requirements by state, as well as the best classroom security options.
School Safety Requirements: Pre-Parkland
The tragic February 2018 Parkland occurrence, as well as multiple subsequent school emergencies, revolutionized school security policy and funding. Before the Parkland shooting, only 15 states mandated specific school safety requirements. Total Security Solutions provides a shortlist of most common requirements across those 15 states:
- Restricted visitor access in 9 states
- Interior and exterior access controls in 6 and 7 states, respectively
- Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) in 7 states
- Intercom systems in 7 states
- Emergency notification systems in 5 states
- Bullet- and blast-resistant materials in 4 states
However, after the aforementioned occurrences of compromised school security, every state began implementing school safety plans, emergency drills, collaboration with law enforcement, and revamping current security measures, if existent.
School Safety Requirements by State
The Education Commission of the States is an excellent resource for school safety requirements by state. Utilizing this resource, we define five primary safety requirement categories and explore the most significant takeaways from current state policy.
Five Primary Safety Requirement Categories:
- School Safety Plans – Many state regulations require an up-to-date school safety plan created by a specific entity. State regulation may also determine the inclusion of law enforcement in addition to the regularity in which the school safety plan should be evaluated and updated.
- School Safety Audits – A school safety audit is a physical audit of the school facility. Once more, state regulations determine who should be held responsible for completing these audits, if law enforcement should be involved, and the frequency upon which the school safety audit must be completed.
- School Safety Drills – Drills including fire and active shooter exercises are mandated by state, including how often drills should be completed.
- School Resource Officers – Every state will determine specific definitions, training requirements, and certification obligations for school resource officers.
- Weapons in Schools – Regulations for weapons in schools differ state-by-state, including who can carry among school security personnel, concealed carry permit holders, or other school employees.
Important Takeaways from Current State Policy
- At least 43 states and Washington, DC, require a school safety plan. Of the 43, at least 29 mandate the involvement of law enforcement agencies in the school safety plan creation.
- Washington DC, and at least 13 other states, require regular school safety audits of school facilities. However, only 5 states mandate the involvement of law enforcement while the audit is conducted.
- At least 42 states require school systems to conduct school safety drills.
- In at least 29 states and Washington, DC, school resource officers are defined by state regulations, while other states define officers in handbooks or guides. Additionally, at least 28 states and Washington, DC, mandate similar preparation to traditional law enforcement training.
- Certain states allow school resource officers, specific school employees, and/or concealed carry permit holders to carry weapons on campus. At least 30 states and Washington, DC, allow school security personnel to possess weapons, whereas only 9 states allow other school employees to possess weapons if specific criteria are met. Additionally, at least 11 states will allow concealed carry permit holders to possess weapons. At least 24 states simply let school districts decide.
The Best Classroom Emergency Supplies
For every school district across the country, meeting and maintaining school safety requirements should be a priority. Identifying the best classroom emergency supplies is the beginning of protecting students, staff, and visitors in the unfortunate event of a security breach. Lockdown shades, barricades, and comprehensive classroom emergency supply kits are among the most critical items to include within your school system.
Classroom lockdown shades should be simple to install, fast to deploy, and effective to protect. While shopping for lockdown shades, consider a few critical factors:
- Quality and durability of the blackout fabric
- Fire retardancy (NFPA 701 compliancy)
- Customization capabilities for a variety of window sizes
- Weighted hem-bar to ensure total coverage during deployment
Once again, a door lock or barricade must be easily installed on any door type and adhere to compliance regulations with the International Building Code, ADA, and NFPA Life Safety guidelines. Consider these important factors while shopping for an effective door barricade:
- A bullyproof system that only allows individuals with an activator to trigger the lock
- Fast deployment
- Accessibility from the outside for emergency personnel
Classroom Emergency Supplies
Every school should install classroom lockdown emergency and first aid kits within the facility. Most classrooms do not have access to restrooms, water faucets, or first aid stations within the classroom. Therefore, supply kits should provide these vital resources in the event of a prolonged lockdown emergency.
Isolation gowns are designed to protect faculty and students from the spread of infectious disease, such as COVID-19. When utilized in tandem with medical industry regulations, gloves, masks, and other PPE items, isolation gowns can help school professionals remain safe, even in high traffic situations.
School Safety Solution
At School Safety Solution, we are dedicated to protecting students with efficient and effective school safety supplies in accordance with state school safety requirements. Our lockdown shades, door locks, bleed control kits, and classroom emergency supply kits. All of our classroom emergency and first aid kits that have been designed utilizing advice from experts in the field of emergency preparedness.
If you have any questions about how School Safety Solution can help your school district protect students, staff, and visitors, please do not hesitate to reach out at 888.733.0406 or request a quote online.