Campus security is arguably the most important service that a school or university can provide for its students. There is a plethora of ways in which educational institutions can address security, but for the K-12 space in particular, implementing the proper measures can be a daunting and confusing task.
The folks at the Security Industry Association (SIA) and the National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA) know this all too well, and with the help of a host of other industry stakeholders, have devised a way for K-12 schools to access the information they need to implement effective campus security measures.
In 2013, SIA launched a working group focused on identifying ways to enhance school security. The following year, SIA partnered with NSCA to turn that group into a more robust organization bringing together members of the security industry, school officials and law enforcement. The goal was to develop a coordinated approach to protecting K-12 students and educators.
It was from this collaboration that SIA and NSCA formed the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS), a program that will combine each organization’s respective school safety programs, along with NSCA’s mass notification and emergency communications task forces, to provide valuable insight and perspective to schools nationwide. The goal for PASS is to create a powerful resource that will help integrators and schools alike to implement the most appropriate and effective security technologies.
The PASS K-12 initiative is being led by a steering committee of industry veterans that includes:
- Chairman: Brett St. Pierre, director of education solutions, HID Global,
- Vice chairman: Jim Crumbley, president and CEO, Risk Response Team, Inc.
- Steering committee directors:
- Chuck Wilson, manager special projects and partnerships, SIA
- Ron Hawkins, executive director, NSCA
- Scott Lord, director of innovation, All Systems
PASS’ steering committee members have played a pivotal role in the planning and drafting of the K-12 safety guidelines document. Additionally, the committee draws from a wealth of industry knowledge and experience.
“On the larger committee we have 25 people ranging from manufacturing personnel, system integrators, consultants, law enforcement, end users and organizations like Safe and Sound,” says HID’s director of education solutions and PASS chairman, Brett St. Pierre.
Safe and Sound is a non-profit organization founded by parents, educators and community members in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. The organization’s founder, Michelle Gay is working alongside PASS as well to help spread the word about the safety guidelines and resources being offered by PASS.
A security cheat sheet
At the heart of the PASS initiative is a reality that schools across the country have to grapple with; school officials are rarely experts in physical security. With this in mind, PASS is looking to bridge that gap.
Specifically, school administrators must answer two basic questions when planning to implement security systems: What should we do? And how do we pay for it?
With this in mind, PASS has developed a document entitled, Safety and Security Guidelines for K-12 Schools.
Through these guidelines, PASS will focus on addressing both ongoing and emerging threats to students and educators and will provide education regarding security and life safety best practices. The organization will also offer guidance to educators and security professionals en route to identifying the following:
- Guidelines and standards
- Best practices for security technology applications
- Technological advances
- Skills building opportunities
- Solutions to funding challenges
“A lot of schools have little funding and lack knowledge of the tech out there,” says HID’s St. Pierre. “For example, there are facilities employees that have been managing metal keys all their lives. This gives schools additional guidelines to help with things like that.”