In the wake of a tragic shooting in San Bernardino, California, on Monday, the Security Industry Association (SIA) pressed for wide adoption of school security guidelines developed by the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS), which prescribe a tiered approach for schools based on available resources. SIA also announced its support of proposed funding measures on Capitol Hill that would authorize matching grants for school security measures.
The PASS Guidelines, recently revised this month, take a tiered approach to school security, covering elements such as access control, visitor management, video surveillance, emergency procedures, and security awareness training.
The tiered approach makes the guidelines relevant for both well-funded and minimally funded school safety programs. For example, part of the tiered approach addresses visitor control, and how a school with little to no funding can begin to institute security procedures for screening visitors to K-12 schools. In advanced tiers, schools implement pre-enrolled sign-in systems and check visitors against local law enforcement warnings and warrants.
“Recent and unfortunately recurring school shootings and other incidents remind us that following appropriate safety guidelines, as prescribed by the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools and recommended by the Security Industry Association, goes a long way toward keeping America’s schools safe and secure,” said SIA Director of Industry Relations Ron Hawkins. “Schools around the country can begin implementing PASS guidelines regardless of their level of funding. We advise administrators, staff, teachers and parents to obtain a copy to see what simple steps your school can adopt to protect its students.”
The PASS guidelines are available by request at http://www.passk12.org. SIA is one of the partners in the PASS coalition, which also includes law enforcement and school officials from around the country.
In a related development, SIA led a coalition of associations in writing to Congress on Monday in support of the School Safety Act (H.R. 1636) and federal appropriations to restore school security matching grants from Department of Justice.
“Local communities and school officials know what training and resources they need to keep their students safe. However, for many schools, improvements to physical security and emergency response capabilities are simply out of reach due to initial cost. The program plays a vital role in filling gaps where state and local funding sources are unavailable despite urgent needs,” SIA wrote with cosigners County Executives Association, Door Security and Safety Professionals, Electronic Security Association, National School Boards Association, Partner Alliance for Safer Schools, Secure Schools Alliance, and The School Superintendents Association.
In a separate letter Monday, SIA and the same associations expressed their strong support for an appropriations request for the Secure Our Schools program administered by the Department of Justice. Federal grant assistance specifically for school security measures has remained unavailable since fiscal 2011.
A congressional funding proposal would provide $15 million in grant assistance through Secure Our Schools, which would provide matching grants to implement effective security measures and emergency response procedures.
For questions regarding the PASS school security guidelines or SIA’s call for federal funding of school security grants, contact Mickey McCarter, SIA manager of communications, at 301-804-4704 or firstname.lastname@example.org.