The news of another school shooting by a disturbed but coldly calculating killer leaves us all sad.
Apparently the school had a ‘new high security system’ but it obviously wasn’t. Though the risk of a shooting is low, the severity is incredibly high, so, much like a bombing or chemical attack, it is worth considering mitigation of the risk & the severity. Even with a metal detector, guard, etc. you are only mitigating risk, not reducing severity – it just means the guard gets shot first, as in the island shooting in Norway, where the policeman was the first to be killed.
Reducing the risk has clearly failed at the point the shooting starts, so we have to reduce the severity as far as possible.
Now, arming the teachers, concealed carry, allowing licensed gun owners in schools, etc are all ways to change the severity downwards (hopefully) but also carry risks. (Not that you could call it escalation, but there are risks such as ‘friendly fire’)
CCTV is, of course, fairly pointless. It only allows the survivors to see exactly what happened.
Technology to the rescue, then.
A simple lock on the door is pointless against a sustained attack with firearms or crowbars. Heavy armoured doors are expensive and, frankly, pointless. Issues with locking and the like, and, in a primary school, risk of crushing.
Instead, install powered rollershutters on a remote control. Have each teacher provided with a lanyard which has a panic button on it. This can be used anywhere to call for help, but also can be used to activate the shutters over the door.
If something bad is happening, the teacher can isolate his or her room in seconds, and alert the caretaker, principal, security, etc. Further, if two or three different rooms (adjustable, of course) are “panicked” the system locks down the entire school, external doors and all.
Any shooter would be trapped, with only one room or a corridor, which would become their cell. Someone trying to set bombs would be trapped with their own explosives, which would have far less effect as well as perhaps preventing the bomber detonating the charge without killing themselves. A firebomber might well change his mind if trapped with his own conflagration.
The system would be quite unobtrusive when not activated, and the steel shutters would be strong enough to resist even a determined and violent group of attackers for quite some time, especially if the normal door opens into, and is then blocked, by it.
The opening would be controlled pretty much like normal, unless the system lockdown was triggered, though I’d suggest having a manual system override so it takes a long time to open the door, regardless. No simple keyswitch, certainly! Perhaps a 5 minute timer and two keys, in the same way we protect other valuable assets such as in a safe.
This would mitigate the severity of nearly any event massively. Also, theft, arson and vandalism would be hugely reduced out-of-hours, as the security shutters could trivially be used when the teachers and others have gone home for the night.