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Another step toward safer schools

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Creating safer schools is a major dilemma facing our nation today, but thankfully it is one that some of the best minds are coming together to solve. The Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) has taken a major step by creating safety and security guidelines and standards of practice that all schools can turn to and follow, guidelines and standards that come from lessons learned from past tragedies and ones that were averted, and from experiences and expertise from leaders in security and education, and from parents and students.

The fourth edition of its Safety and Security Guidelines for K-12 Schools provides school administrators, school boards and public safety and security professionals with guidelines for implementing a layered and tiered approach to securing and enhancing the safety of school environments.

Guy Grace Jr., PASS chairman and director of security and emergency planning for Littleton Public Schools, is leading this effort. The Security Industry Association (SIA) named Grace as the 2018 recipient of the SIA Insightful Practitioner Award, an honor recognizing excellence in promoting the implementation of innovative security solutions.

Grace began providing district services to LPS in 1990 and was soon promoted to patrolman, then lead officer and security facilitator before assuming his current role. He has created and assisted with developing many security-related projects, protocols and practices used today in school safety for both LPS and other school districts.

“The safety and security challenges schools face today are more multifaceted and complex than ever before, and protecting students and staff requires a comprehensive approach to these challenges,” Grace said in the announcement of the new PASS standards. “We are proud to build on the PASS guidelines, which present the most comprehensive information available on best practices for securing school facilities, an essential component supporting all-hazards approaches to school safety.”

The fourth edition of the guidelines is completely revised under a simplified structure and greatly expanded to now cover best practices on a district-wide level that relate to safety and security and additional areas such as school transportation, cybersecurity and network infrastructure, architectural features and emergency communications.

The PASS Guidelines identify and classify best practices for securing K-12 facilities in response to urgent needs for information identified by the education community. The guidelines aim to answer two key questions – “What should we do?” and “How do we prioritize?” – and include:

•    Specific actions that can effectively raise the baseline of security;
•    Vetted security practices specific to K-12 environments;
•    Objective, reliable information on available safety and security technology;
•    Assessment of current security measures against nationwide best practices;
•    Multiple options for addressing security needs identified; and
•    How to distinguish needed and effective solutions from sales pitches on unnecessary products.

The guidelines describe approaches within five physical layers for school facilities: district-wide, the property perimeter, the parking lot perimeter, the building perimeter and the classroom/interior perimeter. Within each layer, the resource outlines key safety and security components, such as policies and procedures, people (roles and training), architectural components, communication, access control, video surveillance and detection and alarms.

“We believe this approach provides a simplified way for administrators to effectively evaluate their security infrastructure, prioritize investment and maximize security in ways that are consistent with longstanding security practices and ensure a baseline of facility security measures appropriate for school facilities,” Mark Williams, PASS vice chairman, said in the press release.

Established in 2014, PASS brings together expertise from the education community, law enforcement and the security industry to develop and support a coordinated approach that can assist school administrators in making effective use of proven security practices specific to K-12 environments, including elementary, middle and high schools.

The latest guidelines are available at no cost on the PASS website, and PASS encourages education professionals, public safety personnel and security solutions providers to take advantage of these free resources.
 

SSN News Poll readers weigh in on emergency solutions

Readers recommend stronger doors, access control measures to better protect schools and businesses
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04/19/2018

YARMOUTH, Maine—Security Systems News recently asked its readers about emergency management solutions and which systems or measures would most help to keep a school or business safe. Readers say the industry can be more involved and provide stronger doors.

Allegion’s Tim Eckersley awarded

Eckersley receives Jay Hauhn Excellence in Partnerships Award
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10/24/2016

SILVER SPRING, Md.—SIA announced in late September that Tim Eckersley, Allegion’s senior vice president and president of the Americas, will receive this year’s Jay Hauhn Excellence in Partnerships Award, in part for his work with PASS—the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools.

SIA, NSCA to release school safety guidelines, tools at ISC West

Ronald L. Hawkins, manager of special projects and partnerships for SIA, talks about the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools
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03/24/2015

One of the members of the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) likens the effort to enhance school security to the move decades ago to establish fire prevention, alarm and suppression standards for schools.

SIA’s Education Interest Group to become SIA PASS

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11/06/2014

SILVER SPRING, Md.—SIA announced that its Education Interest Group, formed in 2013 to address school security issues, is now the SIA Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS).