Chapter 1 The Big Picture:|
Security Concepts and Operational Issues
Most schools in the United States are safe institutions, with disciplinary issues creating most disruptions. However, because of the 1998 campus slayings involving students, firearms, and multiple victims, schools and school programs are working harder to reach out to students, to teach them to be good citizens, to identify potentially dangerous personalities, and to develop appropriate intervention strategies. There are many excellent programs around the country that address the issues of bullying, anger, hate, abuse, drugs, alcohol, gangs, lack of role models, vandalism, and so forth. It is of great importance to the United States that these programs be pursued expeditiously. Unfortunately, these programs cannot be successful overnight (indeed, many must be initiated early in a child's life in order to be most effective) and do not yet exist in all schools. Meanwhile, security incidents are occurring in schools that must be dealt with now-perpetrators must be caught and consequences must be administered. School administrators would like to discourage security infractions by means of any deterrent available to them. One such approach sought more often today involves security technologies.
Security technologies are not the answer to all school security problems. However, many security products (e.g., cameras, sensors, and so forth) can be excellent tools if applied appropriately. They can provide school administrators or security officials with information that would not otherwise be available, free up manpower for more appropriate work, or be used to perform mundane tasks. Sometimes they can save a school money (compared to the long-term cost of personnel or the cost impact of not preventing a particular incident). Too often, though, these technologies are not applied appropriately in schools, are expected to do more than they are capable of, or are not well maintained after initial installation. In these cases, technologies are certainly not cost effective.
Research Report: The Appropriate and Effective Use of Security Technologies in U.S. Schools