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School Site Security Planning

Considerations for successful school security improvement projects

In today’s educational reality, school administrators and facility managers are asked to wear more hats than ever before. Successful planning and implementation of school site security improvements requires a multi–layered approach with the collaboration of multiple stakeholders. So where do you start? Not all Districts have the same priorities and needs. When it comes to school safety improvements, there are two main questions to consider: How can we limit exposure to potential threats on campus and how can we improve our ability to respond to an active threat on campus?

Considerations for Limiting Exposure to Threats:

  • Use natural surveillance techniques by placing physical features in such a way as to maximize visibility and/or by removing physical inhibitors to visibility. Examples:

    • Landscaping can be used to direct flow and promote good visibility. Be sure your landscaping doesn’t create hiding spots.

    • Site lighting should enhance visibility and should not create dark spots.

    • Installing window coverings can prevent an active shooter from seeing into the classrooms.

    • Visual evidence of an alarm system and possibly surveillance system in critical locations is a proven deterrent.

  • Use access management to guide people coming and going from a space. Examples:

    • Installing traffic bollards creates a separation between vehicle and pedestrian areas.

    • Use door hardware that allows the teacher to lock the door from the inside of the classroom.

    • Have clear signage that directs all visitors to the Office where proper identification and sign-in should be required.

    • Installing perimeter fencing can secure the entire campus and provide controlled access points. Provide doors on either side of the perimeter fencing to direct visitors to the Office, thus creating a controlled and supervised entry.

Considerations for Improving Response to an Active Threat:

  • Communication, Communication, Communication! Is there adequate 2-way communication from the instructional areas to the Office; from the Site to the District? Phone systems, radios, district wide intercom systems, auto-dialers, email/texting systems, and E911 systems that provide first responders the exact location of where a call or threat is taking place. These types of systems and many more can provide improved ways to communicate with those that need to know.

  • Install video surveillance for locating and tracking the threat. Some school districts coordinate access to video with the local Law Enforcement Agency to improve their ability to respond.

  • Consider remote door locking systems. Did you know that many manufacturers now make wireless (radio and wifi) deadbolt systems that allow a campus or a classroom to be dead bolted and locked down by the mere touch of a button? Whether from the office, or a specific teacher, these systems can be deployed without affecting Master Key systems or requiring all new door hardware.

  • Is your site PA system loud enough and actually audible? Can staff and students receive accurate and timely instructions?

  • Access control systems that eliminate keys and provides First Responders quick access to all areas of campus are extremely advantageous. The quicker they can get to the threat, the better the outcome will be!

Your friends at CPM have worked with Facilities staff, IT Departments, District Security and Local Law Enforcement entities in multiple School Districts, along with dozens of system specific manufacturers to help clients assess their needs and find the right customized solutions and strategies.  We can assist your District with the planning and implementation of site security improvement projects to develop an efficient and effective overall security approach.  We are sure that we can help you achieve your security goals. Give us a call! We would love to help!

Contact Us:  916.553.4400

Mark Rosson,

Todd Mortensen,


School Site Security Fencing

Center Joint Unified School District
Center Joint Unified School District
Center Joint Unified School District
Center Joint Unified School District
Center Joint Unified School District
Center Joint Unified School District
Facility Design Standards (FDS)

It's essential that every district have in place, Board approved FDS, click here for an example.

School Site Assessment Planning

Actively evaluate the life-cycle and current condition of your facilities with our Facilities Condition Assessment Tool FCAT .

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