Window Films and Screens: A School Safety Alternative

Consultants of the Crown Point, Ind.-based Van Gorp Group recently attended the Indiana Association of School Business Officials (IASBO) conference held in French Lick, Ind., May 11-13, where many attendees were pricing bullet resistant glass for their school entryways. Van Gorp Group is dedicated to protecting children and schools, but also to providing cost effective security alternatives. As a risk management/security company, we specialize in neutralizing threats and protecting people, property and identifying risk.
In speaking with many IASBO members, we were advised that their number one goal was to slow down the entry of a potential intruder while enacting safety measures for the occupants and providing law enforcement additional time to respond. By protecting the entryways, we begin to address the safety and security issues all schools face. Unfortunately, by protecting the entryways and not the windows, alternative rapid entry is only walking distance away, as unprotected windows afford rapid access to the school and children. To address these problems there are safety and security films — some better than others — which for a fraction of the cost would address the above-mentioned goals.
Another concern IASBO members shared was that windows need to be used for student comfort in schools that do not have air conditioning. Obviously, open windows provide yet another security challenge. The cost to replace all windows, or install an air-conditioning system to a school building that would allow windows to remain closed, would be staggering. To address this issue, we suggest window security screens.
What exactly is a security screen? Security screens are not security bars, although they perform the same duty. Security bars give a school or business an institutional appearance. Security screens, on the other hand, do not take away from the curb appeal or professionalism of an institution. The screens look very much like conventional screens, can be retrofitted, are virtually impenetrable and are a fraction of the cost of bullet resistant glass. They can be used on existing windows to afford air flow, reduce heat, reduce glare and protect the school from entry. A combination of security screens and doors can protect entryways in place of costly bullet resistant glass. By reducing costs, additional safety film can be installed on other unprotected windows.

The life of just one student is priceless, however, schools and universities must operate within often slim budgets. A combination of security films, screens and excellent overall security awareness, we believe, can make a huge difference in school safety and security.
Anthony J. Van Gorp has 14 years of law enforcement experience and established Investigative Solutions & Consulting Services Inc. in 2002 and the Van Gorp Group in 2013. The Van Gorp Group provides executive protection, armed and unarmed security, consulting and training services. Van Gorp Group is a 3M safety and security film distributor in Indiana as well as a TAPCO security screen and door distributor.