Safe Schools: PASS releases new safety guidelines for K-12s

Lockdown drills and expanded sections on cybersecurity and transportation are in the free guide
By: | October 19, 2020
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The Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) released the latest edition of its free Safety and Security Guidelines for K-12 Schools, which includes new strategies for lockdown drills and technologies that allow responders to get to buildings quickly during emergencies.

One feature added to the guidelines this year and unveiled during Safe Schools Week, is an entry on emerging but-not-yet-approved technologies such as passive weapons screening and vape detection.

“We are proud to continue to improve the PASS guidelines to ensure it remains a valuable tool for a wide range of stakeholders involved in keeping our schools safe and secure, particularly at a time when those responsible for school safety face daunting challenges and limited resources,” said Mark Williams, PASS Board Chairman.

PASS says the comprehensive guidelines have been utilized in some form by some 4,000 stakeholders – from school leaders to school boards and others – so they can stay on top of safety and security procedures and current technology. This year’s guide includes bigger sections on cybersecurity, network infrastructure and transportation.

The guide highlights the five most important areas to consider when planning a safety and security strategy: the district itself, the perimeter of a schools’ property, parking lots, the exterior around buildings and the areas around classrooms. It then goes over how everything else interacts in those areas – from the cooperation and communication of faculty, staff and students, to safety protocols, to alarm systems and access.

The PASS guidelines also suggest five simple steps that can increase security in schools:

  1. Vetted security practices specific to K-12 environments
  2. Objective, reliable information on available safety and security technology
  3. Assessment of current security measures against nationwide best practices
  4. Multiple options for addressing security needs identified
  5. The ability to distinguish needed and effective solutions from sales pitches on unnecessary products

“We believe this approach is critical to providing a simplified way for administrators to effectively evaluate their security infrastructure, prioritize investment and maximize security in ways that are consistent with longstanding security practices and ensure a baseline of facility security measures appropriate for school facilities,” said Guy Grace, Chair of the PASS Advisory Council and former director of security and emergency planning for Littleton Public Schools. “Most importantly, the guidelines support all-hazards approaches to school safety across multiple, interdependent disciplines.”

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