The following suggestions are specific design and management tips for a safer school:

Conduct a security needs assessment for each school with a uniform survey instrument.

Have a districtwide crisis response plan and establish practices annually.

Integrate school security systems and have them remotely monitored.

Use natural and mechanical access control.

Selectively use CCTV.

Eliminate design features that provide access to roofs or upper levels.

Develop a safe corridor program.

Communicate your security policy to faculty and students.

Have lighting on grounds from dusk to dawn.

Have self-engaging locking mechanisms on all windows.

Provide landscape buffers to reduce access to walls vulnerable to graffiti.

Provide piano hinges on vulnerable external doors to reduce access.

Be careful of placement of utility boxes along the sides of building walls that could provide climbing access to the roofs or


If basketball courts are exposed, provide and external water fountain to reduce need to climb over fences to get water.

If basketball, volleyball or tennis courts are attracting nuisance behavior after-hours, remove the nets and hoops at the end of day.

Be sensitive to placements of internal space protection devices near air conditioning vents or exhaust grills because the vibrations of the compressor kicking on can trigger false alarms.

Doors, frames and locks must be Institutional grade to withstand heavy use and abuse. Faceplates should be used over locks to prevent jimmying.

Reconsider the use of student lockers. The trend is for no lockers, and allowing the use of clear or transparent backpacks.

School boundaries and exercise areas should be fenced with a vandal-resistant picket type of fencing.

Limit the number of buildings to as few as possible, preferably one, to restrict access to outsiders and illegitimate users.

Minimize the entrances to as few as possible - preferably one for student and faculty use - to restrict access to legitimate building users. All fire exits should be exit only, with no handles for reentry.

Allow for a security person to be positioned at a single entrance onto the school campus to challenge each vehicle for identification of all occupants if needed. Buses and school employees would have their own separate and controlled entrance.

Minimize the number of driveways or parking lots that students have to walk across to get to the school entrance.

Allow for the ability to lock off the rest of campus from the gym during after-hours.

Provide the conduit for present and future communication and security systems in classrooms and common areas.