In a constantly changing world, the security and safety challenges schools face—as well as the ways in which schools can address those challenges—are also ever-changing.
The Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) has released the sixth edition of its Safety and Security Guidelines for K-12 Schools—a free resource that offers comprehensive information for school administrators, school boards, and public safety and security professionals on nationwide best practices for securing school facilities. The newest edition of the PASS guidelines features streamlined guidance that addresses schools’ evolving security challenges and needs.
The PASS school safety and security guidelines—which include insights from subject matter experts across the education, public safety, and industry sectors—provide a road map for implementing a layered and tiered approach to enhancing the safety of school environments and a tool to prioritize needs. Provided free of charge, these guidelines—which come with a free School Safety and Security Checklist—have been downloaded by thousands of stakeholders and helped many districts to evaluate and improve their security infrastructures and procedures.
Updates in the sixth-edition guidelines include:
- More focused best practice recommendations to identify needed areas of improvement by separating the tier continuum practices that are already required by federal law or regulation or are already uniformly implemented throughout the United States.
- Redesignated tiers for clarity, which recommend that all schools and districts work toward Tier One measures regardless of location, budget, or risk profile. If Tier One measures are in place, all should work towards Tier Two. Tiers 3 and 4 measures may be needed depending on an assessment from the core security team.
- Enhancements to the section on classroom security, a critical area for school safety. This section is simplified and updated with current terminology, illustrations, and recommendations consistent with modern, code-compliant door hardware and access control equipment.
- A new Enhanced Technologies section detailing solutions under consideration by many schools and districts that show potential for making significant improvements to school safety but may not yet be widely adopted. These include newer technologies in the areas of weapons detection, analytics, emergency communications, and biometrics.
“Facility security measures are a critical part of protection, mitigation, and response and to keeping our schools safe,” said Jeremy Gulley, superintendent of Jay School Corporation. “The latest version of the PASS Safety and Security Guidelines reflects and addresses the most current threats facing K-12 schools and offers robust information and best practices for those of us in the education community on how we can better secure our schools.”
The PASS guidelines are broken into five physical layers of school facilities, including district perimeter, property perimeter, parking lot perimeter, building perimeter, and classroom/interior perimeter. Then, they outline key safety and security components within those layers. Those components include policies and training, roles and training, architecture, communications, access control, video surveillance, and detection and alarms.
These guidelines provide stakeholders with specific actions that immediately improve security and offer vetted security practices specific to K-12 environments. They also provide objective and reliable information on available safety and security technology. Additionally, the guidelines offer options for addressing security needs and the ability to discern practical solutions from unnecessary products.
The latest guidelines are available at no cost on the PASS website along with a matching checklist tool, and PASS encourages education professionals, public safety personnel, and security solutions providers to take advantage of these free resources. To learn more about PASS or to become a partner in support of its mission to protect schools, visit passk12.org.
Jake Parker, senior director of government relations at the Security Industry Association, is a member of the PASS Board of Directors and PASS Advisory Council.