San Bernardino School Shooting Sparks More Campus Safety Discussions

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — A month after the tragic shooting on April 10 at North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino that left a teacher and one student dead, school safety guidelines at the school and across the U.S. are being reconsidered.

In mid-April, San Bernardino City Unified officials already announced enhanced security measures that require all visitors to undergo a background check before being permitted onto the North Park Elementary School campus as well as prohibit visitors from meeting with staff or students during school hours and from even venturing beyond the main office unless there’s a pre-established meeting. In the case that a visitor has a valid reason to go beyond the office during school hours, he or she will have to provide a valid driver’s license that will be scanned. The ID image will then be printed for visitors to wear while on campus, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Additionally, the front door to the school will be permanently locked and a new buzzer entry system and camera is being installed outside the main entrance. Even parents will be required to press the buzzer during the school day, and a school secretary will be notified with the person’s image on a screen to determine whether or not to allow them entry.

First responders, school staff, parents and community residents gathered on May 8 to discuss how the school district can continue to enhance safety and security. Suggestions from the meeting will be presented before the San Bernardino City Unified school board for changes to facilities and processes to happen as early as June, reported the San Bernardino County Sun.

On a national level, the Security Industry Association (SIA) released a statement after the shooting on April 11 that said the organization pressed for wide adoption of school security guidelines developed by the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS). In the same statement, SIA stated that it supports proposed funding measures by the U.S. government to authorize matching grants for school security measures.

The PASS guidelines, revised in early April, recommend a tiered approach to school security, covering elements such as access control, visitor management, video surveillance, emergency procedures and security awareness training. The tiered approach even makes guidelines relevant for both well-funded and minimally funded school safety programs.

“Recent and unfortunately recurring school shootings and other incidents remind us that following appropriate safety guidelines, as prescribed by the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools and recommended by the Security Industry Association, goes a long way toward keeping America’s schools safe and secure,” said SIA Director of Industry Relations Ron Hawkins in a statement. “Schools around the country can begin implementing PASS guidelines regardless of their level of funding. We advise administrators, staff, teachers and parents to obtain a copy to see what simple steps your school can adopt to protect its students.”

School administrators and staff can retrieve the PASS guidelines by request at PASSK12.org.