The schools in areas where gun violence is part of everyday life are not securing their campuses very differently from the seemingly “safe” schools where mass shootings have taken place, school safety experts say. In fact, they say, when it comes to securing schools, each strategy is unique.
“There is a no template for school security,” says Erroll Southers, professor at the University of Southern California and director of the school’s Safe Communities Institute. “Every school is different. Every school has its own vulnerabilities, it has its own assets and it has its own cultures.” He similarly says there is no single security weakness that shooters exploit when they attack a school.
While schools may conduct safety drills and while parents and politicians debate the pros and cons of arming teachers, school security experts say there are major lapses that need to be addressed. Only 12 states have established guidelines or standards for school facility security, for example. And only 12 states provide school districts with funding for school security. While 48 states require training based on individual school emergency plans, only 27 require schools to audit and assess their facilities. Learn more here.