By: Stuart J. Visnov, Chief Executive Officer, Echelon Protection & Surveillance
Word count: 629

School Campus SecurityWhen parents send their children to school, the last thing they want to be thinking about is their safety. In response to this concern, a recent bill passed by the Pennsylvania Senate has voted to allow teachers and employees to carry guns while at school. Passing by a narrow margin of 28 to 22, Senate Bill 383 would “allow workers with concealed carry licenses to possess guns in schools if they meet training requirements and pass a psychological evaluation.”

However, many state senators and those who study school violence remain opposed to such measures, including survivors of the Sandy Hooks Elementary School attack, who collectively wrote in an open letter that arming teachers or others “would not have made us or our students any safer. In fact, it might’ve made things worse.”

While on the surface, allowing teachers to carry guns may seem like a reasonable solution, experts in the field of law enforcement agree that it actually creates more potential for disaster and creates additional problems than it avoids. According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, “Laws that strip regulations for carrying guns in public places are associated with a 12% to 18% increase in violent crime over the 10 years following their adoption.” Furthermore, arming citizens who do not have access to the same training as law enforcements officials often leads to more casualties and more deaths.

For school administrators, the safest and most secure option is to hire professional security guards who embody the expertise and training needed to handle life-threatening situations. In this way, teachers can concentrate on their main purpose—educating students—while parents and students can rest easy, knowing that trained professionals are focused on the role of broad protection in multiple scenarios.

Proper school security relies on a mixture of planning, preparedness, and technology alongside vetted, trained, and certified security guards who are supervised by those outside of the school administration. Employing an experienced security company allows schools to look at the entire picture. First, most companies will develop a strategy by reviewing potential vulnerabilities in the school’s layout or design, as well as identifying and tagging the number of exit strategies that exist. They can then make recommendations for improvement. Secondly, a security company can create an emergency plan that can be shared among the teachers, administrators, and students as appropriate. As with most things, preparedness allows for much greater success in the event of an emergency. In addition, installing the proper technology such as video surveillance, or, in some cases, scanning mechanism, allows for a daily assurance that the property is being thoroughly monitored by individuals trained to spot problems.

The presence of certified school security guards offers numerous benefits. First and foremost, it creates an environment of accountability; those outside and inside the school recognize that an active monitoring system is in place, and threats of bullying or violence on all fronts are lowered. Secondly, with trained guards, you can be assured that responsive time and assessment in the event of an emergency situation will be enacted by individuals specifically trained to respond to these occurrences. Lastly, your students and faculty will not only feel safer, they will be better protected by guards whose sole purpose is to ensure their safety.

To learn more about how to best protect your school and your students, contact a representative at Echelon Protection & Surveillance. Our certified security guards and staff are the most highly-trained in the region, and members of our team come from backgrounds that include work in the highest ranks of the Philadelphia Police Department, Federal Agencies and other high-level, high quality areas. Our guards are supervised and monitored, and their progress and reports are documented on a regular basis to ensure transparency and accuracy.