In light of recent events in the US, the main topic on most peoples minds seems to be the issue of gun control.
The students have taken to their local politicians and have marched to try to make their voices heard. Literally millions are stepping up for change.
All of this happening, and there have been two things that I have read in the past week for implementing change to make schools safer for students. These two security measures are something that can be applied to any situation where you’re trying to secure an area. And if its money you’re worried about – these are both fairly cost effective aides.
We’ll start with the new policy implemented by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School which is the location of the February 14th shooting.
When students return from spring break, they will be given a new back pack for their school belongings that they must use for bringing anything into the building.
They are completely see through – clear plastic backpacks.
Now, it has been a while since I’ve been in school, however I do recall that outside of how my backpack or bag looked (because as a teenager, lets face it, this was a priority) function and comfort also played a roll. Some days students are toting a pretty hefty amount of weight in their bags given the variety of textbooks and binders required for school. I’m sure now a days a large amount of students are also carrying laptops and tablets. So first and foremost, durability and comfort are definitely going to be requirements of your bag. You want something that will last the school year carrying your things to and from school, and you don’t want to break your back if possible doing it. Then there is the issue of privacy. If you are carrying something more valuable like a tablet or whatnot, discretion is key. Then there is the issue of any personal belongings that you’d prefer to keep hidden for whatever other reason you may have (health, hygiene, etc) Carrying a clear bag definitely ensures that you won’t be hiding an assault weapon in plain site, but it also shows the world quite literally everything else you’re holding onto.
Now this goes two ways – does this prevent someone from sneaking something in their bag? Yes. For the most part. So this does help as a security feature and helps to make people feel a bit safer.
However, it infringes on privacy so you’re giving that up to feel slightly safer.
The school will also be installing airport style security gates to get into and out of the building – which at this point almost makes clear bags null and void. Whether or not they will still enforce the clear bag policy once their security measures are ramped up, I’m unsure.
This being said, what if a student has a bag within their clear bag – like a pencil case? They could still hide knives or small sharp objects in their. Hand guns take up less space, could they also be in a bag within a bag, or hidden within a binder? What about carrying these items on ones person? Before airport style security, technically things on the body are concealed and would be able to get into the building.
My next point would be – if someone is really that desperate, do they need to actually gain entrance to the building to inflict harm? There are a number of incidents in airports where attacks happen prior to the security gates. If someone wants to attack – they will.
So a school, event, building or what have you that implements a rule of having a see through bag is more of a method to help you feel safer – without being entirely failsafe.
Next – in the State of Pennsylvania, there is a district who has implemented their own defence mechanism of sorts in all classrooms. It may seem slightly primitive and almost laughable even – but could it work?
In the event of an active shooter, in each classroom there is a bucket filled with rocks.
If a lockdown fails and a shooter gains entrance to a classroom, the students are simply given the task of throwing the rocks at the shooter. Essentially they’re stoning them.
Now, typically bullets travel at a faster and more deadly rate of speed than rocks so given the shooters determination and aim, they could potentially retain the upper hand in this situation.
However, I’m sure given a barrage of rocks and stones being pelted at a person could be enough to throw their aim and their guard off. This can cause them to lose accuracy in their aim, or even retreat all together. Or maybe the class could get lucky with a well armed rock to the head of a shooter and knock him out all together.
This security method does offer a number of outcomes yet again – not failsafe.
Both of these measures seem quite small and in some ways, ridiculous. However, desperate times call for desperate measures sometimes and if thats all these locations are legally allowed to use given most of their extremely limited budgets – are they entirely bad ideas?
There are many many different forms of security methods and most of them aren’t without their faults, so adding a few more at limited cost might not hurt.
This being said, having these methods implemented at venues and events the world over I’m sure is something we won’t see to these extremes. Yes going through airport security your liquids need to be in a clear plastic bag – but this bag then goes into your carry on which can be anything you want it to be almost as long as it fits under the seat in front of you or the overhead bins.
In the meantime, filling your pockets or bags with rocks probably isn’t something you need to concern yourself with just yet either.
Guest Blogger Rayna Davies
Rayna Davies is a graduate and practitioner of Business Management. She has developed an expertise in blogging, covering subjects like travel, world events and security. Having grown up with a father who has developed an expertise in Physical Security and Executive Protection in the RCMP and two major corporations, she has personally observed and experienced many security details. These experiences have included personally meeting HM Queen Elizabeth, Prime Minister Jean Chretien and many celebrities. She presently assists Sentinel Security in Executive Protection workshops and guest blogging and also assists Gloprosec Preventative Services in Intelligence gathering and Business Administration. Her passions include World travel, having visited every continent. She currently is on maternity leave and providing daily close protection for a baby and a toddler and spending time with her husband who is a Police Officer.