Volume 48, Issue 5- May 2013


The State of School Safety
From Bullet-Resistant Glass to Surveillance Systems,
Schools Consider Safety Measures
by Casey Neeley

It’s been five months since an armed gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., killing 20 children and six adults. The gunman reportedly entered the school by shooting through a glass window near the entrance, leading many to consider whether bullet-resistant glass—along with other security measures—should be implemented into schools. Here’s a look at some measures school boards across the country are considering in order to increase security and safety.

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho: The school district is considering numerous capital improvements, including bulletproof [sic] glass on some windows.

Grand Junction, Colo.: The safety committee for school district 51 submitted recommendations to the school board regarding ways to improve safety for students in the district. The list included bullet-resistant glass, among other measures.

Brookings, S.D.: School officials are exploring the possibility of installing laminated glass in school entrances over the next few years.

Sioux City, S.D.: The Sioux City school board is mulling the decision to add bullet-resistant glazing to its schools, according to the local news, though, superintendent Paul Gausman cites cost as a concern.

Kansas City, Mo.: The community voted to approve a $20 million no tax bond issue that extends payoffs on current bonds, and the Blue Springs School District superintendent said at least $14 million should be spent on improving school safety. Reportedly, much of that money will be used to add security at school entrances.

Farmington, Minn.: When recommendations were solicited for ideas on making the local schools safer, bullet-resistant glazing and armed guards were on the list of what residents wanted to see.

Riverdale, Ill.: School officials considered bullet-resistant glass for the entrance of a local elementary school, but tabled the discussion due to costs, according to a WBHF-TV report.

Versailles, Mo.: School District officials met with local law enforcement to consider options for increasing student safety. Possibilities include bullet-resistant glazing, window tinting and window bars.

Sequoyah County, Okla.: A school had security film installed as part of safety and security efforts.

Cleburne, Texas: The school board has discussed installing buzzers, security glass, new walls and entrance doors.

Caro, Mich.: The school board approved up to $40,000 to purchase additional equipment to beef up security at elementary schools. Superintendent Bruce Nelson reported that the plan also includes security glass at one elementary school.

Pemberville, Ohio: The school board entered into a contract to have window film installed on all doors and windows at Eastwood Local schools.

Council Rock, Pa.: School superintendent Mark Klein is prepared to spend $810,000 to improve school security. His proposal includes the use of bullet-resistant glass around school entrances.

West Virginia: Legislators asked state officials to budget for bullet-resistant glass as they renovate and build new schools. However, reports say the state’s school building authority executive director questioned the cost and suggested window film as one alternative.

Derby, Conn.: The school board is considering a number of improvements. Measures such as new locks, alarms, security glass, etc., have either been installed, are on order or in planning stages.

Southington, Conn.: Officials have been reconsidering plans for glass doors at two new local middle schools as the building committee vice chair told architects it might make sense “to reconsider what we are using for external doors,” according to a local report.

Greenwich, Conn.: The community approved $1.4 million to improve security at Greenwich public schools. The district plans to reinforce windows with laminated security glass, and put shades on classroom doors and windows that can be lowered in an emergency.

Radnor Township, Pa.: School district director of operations Leo Bernabei submitted eight school safety recommendations and his list included, among others, adding a shatter-resistant panel at the Radnor High School security window.

Orlando: As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, newly-elected school board member Bill Mathias drew strong reactions when he suggested the district pay to train and arm educators with guns.

Consumers Speak Out
Consumers also have called on school officials across the United States to bulk up safety and many have noted bullet-resistant and laminated glass as a specific need.

“Doors that have glass next to locks should be replaced with laminated glass,” wrote consumer Malcom Rose of Philomath, Texas, in a January 29 letter to the editor that appeared in the Corvallis Gazette-Times. The letter was titled “Simple Security Steps Could Enhance School Safety.”

Another, James Daggers of Warrington Township, Pa., wrote “Bulletproof [sic] doors with bulletproof [sic] glass are the way to go. We also need the first-floor glass windows to be bulletproof [sic]. If an attack happens and a would-be killer does get into a school, the children will be safe in their classrooms. This will allow more time for the police to arrive and do their job.” Daggers’ letter appeared in the Philadelphia-based Intelligencer.



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