School Safety: A reasonable Approach
Anytime there is a tragedy in a school, it hits home how fragile life is. School is a place that our children go to learn, to be safe, and to study. No parent wishes to imagine a tragedy could ever strike their school.
Several tragedies could occur at anytime in any school. Fires, shootings, stabbings, earthquakes and even weather related disasters can occur at anytime, and without warning. Most schools have decent plans in place for emergency preparedness in case of natural disasters. Disasters created by other people are far more hard to plan for.
To secure the schools, we need to start from the outside and progress in, without making any undo difficulties for parents to get their children, or children entering the school. Control access to the school. Don't allow side doors, back doors, or emergency doors to be unlocked at anytime, except in an emergency; however I will address that in a moment. Before, during and after school hours entrance to the school is controlled through a front door. Directly across from the front door should be the office, where greater visibility of who comes and goes is monitored. Once school is in session, the front door is locked and access is controlled via an intercom. If a student is late, or a parent has to pick up a child, the only way they enter the school is through the front door and through the office.
Install cameras with a full 360 degree view of the school, wired to the office so the front desk and principals have unimpeded view at all times of the school. Make sure the cameras have a motion detector installed so when motion is detected, that particular feed flashes or beeps or makes an indication that something is moving around. By controlling access to the school, intruders can be severely limited in what they can do. In addition the video files would provide excellent evidence in the event something was attempted.
However since humans can be lazy, or become zoned out while working, there is the chance somebody could still slip by or slip in before the doors are locked, or piggy back in on a student, or even shoot their way in. For further protection, once school starts, all interior school doors are locked, controlled by teacher access inside each classroom. Nobody comes in or out of the class room without teacher control. This can be performed either with a buzzer that allows the teachers to unlock the door momentarily, or a RFID card to swipe, or even biometric thumb scanners. Regardless of which method is chosen, allowing the teacher to maintain lock down in their room would also reduce the chances of a stranger entering the room.
In case of fire or weather disaster, all doors would unlock automatically, either by being tied to the fire alarm, under principal/front office control, or a variety of means. But the important thing is the fail safe to ensure if there is a fire or tornado or earthquake students are not impeded during their path to safety.
While not impregnable, and definitely not something to stop a person hellbent on creating chaos, it is a much higher level up from the current security schools have, and should deter, prevent, or lessen any future potential violence against children.