Four Low-Cost, High-Yield School Security Techniques

Colored lanyards. All faculty, staff and visitors should wear badges attached to colored lanyards (preferably with breakaway clasps), and the colors should correspond to their role (e.g., red for faculty, blue for visitor). Its a simple way to identify people from a distance and also spot suspicious people roaming without a lanyard.

"Hi. How can I help you?" Staff and even students should be trained to ask strangers this question. Note the wording of the question. "Can I help you?" will not work because it gives the person the opportunity to say "No." "Hi" is polite and disarms the person. The word "how" forces the person to state a purpose. An inability to answer this question easily is a tip-off that the person could be up to no good.

Operating profile map. A simple way to understand what needs to be done from a security and access control perspective is to map out your facilitys operating profile. Draw a time line that starts at 12 a.m. and ends at 12 a.m. 24 hours. Then draw three lines underneath, one that stretches across the "operating day" when the highest concentration of assets (students) are present. The second line is for facilities, and stretches for as long as some access to the building is needed, regardless of whether school is in session. The third line is for dark hours, when zero access to the school is required. These maps can be made for general operating times and also for weekends or special events and can help stakeholders understand what policies are in place when.

Crisis card. A single laminated card with major risks and proper responses can be made to stick under the phones of staff. Risks are listed in three categories and are color coded: green for environmental risks (e.g., weather), blue for medical risks (e.g., seizure) and red for security risks (e.g., bomb threat). Under each of these categories, the specific risks are listed in order of most likely to occur to least likely.

Source: Paul Timm, Reta Security Inc.

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