Written By: Brad Campbell | June 7, 2023
School safety and security is a tricky area — school administrators and districts are tasked with creating open, inviting learning environments, but also protecting students and faculty against a wide range of security threats and safety hazards.
School safety plans have to address a huge number of potential emergency scenarios, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to school emergency planning.
However, there are certain measures schools can implement that provide better safety and security in a number of different scenarios.
Unbreakable glass is something that schools should be using to provide physical protection against many potential threats and hazards.
In general, school emergency planning is the process of developing and implementing procedures and protocols to safeguard the wellbeing of students, teachers, and other staff against different emergency situations that could arise, including:
The school emergency planning process typically starts with a risk assessment, or threat assessment, to identify all the potential emergency scenarios that could affect the population of a certain school, and to determine how likely they are.
This assessment allows schools and districts to prioritize planning for different emergencies and threats according to how likely they are.
For example, not all schools have to include emergency planning for hurricanes and tornadoes, since these are only threats in certain areas of the country.
But, there are certain emergencies that all schools should plan for, such as active threat scenarios and targeted violence.
After all potential security threats and safety risks are identified, school emergency planners have to develop specific, actionable emergency plans to address each of them. These plans usually include:
School safety plans also often outline different security measures to be implemented that will complement the plans and help protect students and faculty.
These might include measures like the hiring of private security guards, the addition of access control systems, and the installation of surveillance cameras and alarm systems.
With a seemingly unending string of high-profile active threat scenarios unfolding at schools across the US, the physical safety of students and staff in the face of violent attacks is a high priority.
As such, schools are looking for new technologies and materials they can implement to protect students and faculty from physical harm. One such technology that is being increasingly used in schools is virtually unbreakable security glazing.
But, how does unbreakable security glass actually fit into a school emergency plan?
Well, school emergency plans often include instructions for specific areas to fall back to and take cover within in the event of an active threat scenario.
These areas should be the least vulnerable to forced entry, allowing school occupants to safely barricade themselves inside and wait for the authorities to arrive and neutralize the threat.
However, most, if not all, classrooms and other spaces in schools are full of windows, which provide the benefits of natural light and high visibility.
But, when it comes to active threats, these windows also make rooms highly vulnerable to forced entry — an attacker can easily smash or shoot out a window to gain entry and harm those inside.
This is where virtually unbreakable glass for school emergency planning comes into play. It can be used to reinforce vulnerable potential entry points and provide access denial to keep bad guys out and protect lives.
Virtually unbreakable security glazing also provides a layer of protection against harm from other threats, such as extreme weather and natural disasters.
Unlike standard windows glass, security glass doesn’t shatter apart and fly dangerously inwards upon impact, and therefore greatly reduces the risk of glass-related injuries in schools.
The advantage of using impact-resistant security glazing over traditional solutions is that it doesn’t significantly change the appearance of school windows or reduce their functionality, so students and teachers can still enjoy an open, bright learning environment with outdoor views.
When it comes to security glazing for schools, there are a lot of options out there, but not all of them provide the level of physical protection that schools need. Or, if they do, they’re simply too expensive or complicated to install.
Riot Glass® retrofittable security glazing provides the highest level of security and is the most cost-effective solution for physically protecting students and staff as part of school emergency plans.
Riot Glass® security glazing sheets use specific formulations of polycarbonates, acrylics, and other materials to create virtually unbreakable glazing shields that can resist all types of impacts, including blunt-force blows, ballistic impacts, and even blasts.
These glazing shields use retrofittable framing adapters that allow them to be fixed on top of (over-glazed), behind (back-glazed), or in place of almost any existing glass surface, using the existing framing systems.
This makes Riot Glass® an affordable solution for schools with their often-tight security budgets.
Riot Glass® can provide whatever level of protection is required to mitigate the emergencies that a school or a school district needs to plan for, depending on their different threat levels.
Overall, incorporating unbreakable glass into school emergency planning can help create a safer, more secure learning environment for students and staff.
Besides how cost-effective it is, the biggest benefit of using security glazing in schools is that it fortifies them without making them look or feel fortified.
This gives school administrators, teachers, parents, and students peace of mind in knowing that people are protected against a full range of security threats and safety hazards when at school, without feeling like they’re in a constant lockdown.
Riot Glass, LLC is here to help your school or district with its emergency planning. Contact us today for a free consultation or to schedule a school threat assessment.