Volume 48, Issue 5 - May 2013

The Little Town that Could: How One School Increased Security with Glass

In April 2010, an armed eighth-grader was able to break into a locked-down classroom in Hastings Middle School in Hastings, Minn. Although the teen fortunately fired no shots before being tackled by a school police officer, the incident proved a wake-up call to the school administrators who have since worked toward replacing tempered glass lites throughout the school with laminated glass.

Upon finding the school’s entrance locked, the student was able to gain entrance through glass panels within the doors. According to the Star Tribune article about the incident: “School officials had ordered the building locked down at about 10:30 a.m., when the 14-year-old was spotted in a hallway with the gun. He burst into a fourth-hour science class and pointed the gun at teacher Mike Rapatz and his students, who were too stunned to even leave their seats.”

Following the attack, Hastings Middle School replaced 35 windows at a cost of $2,100. Today, however, the school and others in the district are seeking a stronger form of protection.

“I do not believe that we have replaced all of the tempered with laminated … but we are slowly moving that direction,” says Tim Collins, Hastings, Minn., public schools superintendent.

Calls to school principal Mark Zuzek as to the status of the replacement project were not returned as of press time.

In addition to the effect on the school itself, the attack left a lasting impression with the Minnesota Senate. Following the attempted shooting, Minnesota Senator Katie Sieben proposed legislation that would require any school district in the state planning new building construction to consider using laminated glass for interior classroom doors (see June 2010 USGlass, page 18). Under Sieben’s legislation, districts would be required to report to the Department of Education that they had considered using laminated glass. While the provision in the Senate education bill didn’t make it far, Senator Sieben’s office did reach out to the Association of Metropolitan School Districts urging executive director Scott Croonquist to encourage school districts to use laminated glass.

According to the letter: “Senator Sieben sought to address the issue legislatively late in the 2010 session. After learning more about the complexity of the process of putting together and carrying out school construction plans, we decided to write this letter in lieu of future legislative proposals …”

Today, Minnesota is still seeking to include greater use of laminated glass. State Senate bill 543, introduced in February 2013, seeks to include the following provision:

A school district may set aside up to an additional $2 per adjusted marginal cost pupil unit of the safe schools levy proceeds for laminated glass for security in the district’s schools.

As of press time, the bill was still waiting review by the Finance Committee.
—Megan Headley

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