Author Topic: School safety  (Read 1407 times)

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Offline ElvisLives

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School safety
« on: March 30, 2023, 11:02:40 AM »
As an architect, I/we are diligently attempting to incorporate new materials and technologies into our designs - especially for educational facilities - to make them far more intruder resistant than previous schools. Our challenge is to do that while NOT making the buildings have the appearance of institutions of confinement.
To that end, we are using laminated glass for all exterior windows/doors. Laminated glass has an inter-layer of acrylic plastic (like a car windshield). Not bullet resistant, but it wouldn't just fall out of the frame and let someone just walk in. By the time they could make a hole large enough to pass through, the schools can get into lock-down mode, and security will have time to be on site and neutralize the assailant. Thankfully - THANKFULLY - the staff in Nashville had the discipline to keep all doors shut and locked. Now, if all schools will do likewise, and get their doors/windows upgraded to at least laminated glass, these tragedies at schools may go away. That person was so angry and deranged, that person would have found some way to wreak havoc, with or without a firearm. Throwing a rock through the glass in those doors would have accomplished the same goal. The glass in those doors was just 'tempered' glass, which is designed to break into small pieces and fall out, to mitigate 'jagged' edges that might cut a person, perhaps, falling through the door. In Nashville, it did exactly what it was supposed to do. Unfortunately, it appears that school was designed before there was a need to be so concerned about intruders with such ill and deadly intent. That person could have created the same result with an axe, or some other uncontrolled weapon.
There are ways to improve the security of schools without turning them into prison-like fortresses. We have been assisting many school districts in retro-fitting their facilities with "secure entrances." Visitors to the building can only access the building via these secure entrances, and must present ID, etc., before further entrance into the building is permitted. Those certainly mitigate most of the problems (i.e., angry parents, angry tax-payers, potential kidnappers, etc.). But, unless those entrances are reinforced, they won't be effective against well-armed assailants.
You may ask about "bullet-proof glass." Well, for the most part, there is no such thing. Show me a piece of glass (or a glazed assembly), and I can show you a gun-powder actuated weapon that can penetrate it. A 50-caliber rifle can pass through tank armoring. But, more realistically, rifles such as a 30-06 can penetrate armored glass, such as found at bank teller stations, etc. Even the heavy armored glass in military vehicles can be penetrated by some form of mobile firearm (i.e., 50-cal rifle).
However, there are products on the market that will stop bullets from most all handguns, and many of the smaller caliber rifles. I have personally witnessed live-fire testing of one window-film product that did not allow any penetration of bullets from .22 to .45 caliber handguns. That same film also acts to hold the glass together, and to continue to be a barrier to intrusion. With a wood baseball bat, I personally attempted to break through the piece of 3/8" glass (about 36" w x 48" tall) that had this film applied, and had been shot some 8 times with various caliber handguns (with no penetration). My best efforts had ZERO effect on the glass. It would probably take an intruder with a crowbar at least 1/2 hour to make a hole large enough for him to pass through. By then, we would hope that security had been alerted and are neutralizing the problem. These products are not cheap, but the cost is justifiable, especially considering they do not give an appearance of being a prison or fortress.
Laminated glass will not stop bullets (any caliber). But, the inter-layer will hold the glass together, and will, similarly, take an intruder a significant amount of time to breach, allowing security to arrive and neutralize the problem. And, it will give staff time to implement lock-down procedures, and get everyone protected until security can resolve the issue.
The biggest key to keeping school buildings safe is diligence and discipline in keeping all doors CLOSED AND LOCKED, at all times. No more propping doors open with wedges, etc., for even momentary convenience. Such discipline may have stopped the Uvalde shooter. No, it didn't stop the Nashville shooter, but the protocol discipline they demonstrated, plus reinforced entrances, may have prevented the deaths.
I'd be willing to bet that our Congress could work together to find funding (like unused/unnecessary COVID resources) that could be made available to any school that needs to have their buildings reinforced in such ways. This is needed now, and is something that CAN be done, without creating any sort of Constitutional controversy or crisis.

Robert Cameron
Lubbock, Texas
 
« Last Edit: March 30, 2023, 01:11:43 PM by ElvisLives »

Online Ralph Damren

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Re: School safety
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2023, 12:55:39 PM »
Well said, Robert, school safety should rank much higher on our priority list than it does. A sincere THANK YOU for your caring.
                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                          Ralph Damren

Offline Etref

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Re: School safety
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2023, 03:11:08 PM »
Have a friend in the same business, Robert, and we were discussing that very thing a few weeks ago.
" I don't make the rules coach!"