School expert: We spend too much on ‘security theater’

Answers For America

(NewsNation) — After a number of school shootings across the country over the years, most recently in Uvalde, Texas, many are wondering how schools can be kept safe

One school safety expert says although more money has been put into new security technology that makes people feel safe, they won’t actually be secure if those using that equipment aren’t trained well.

“We’re spending more time on security theater— target hardening, throwing up cameras, visible, tangible things — to appease people, to make them feel emotionally secure, when that investment may not prove to be worth the dollars spent for it when you’re not training the people behind that technology,” Ken Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services, said.

As an expert witness on civil litigation and the nation’s highest-profile school shootings, Trump said while the facts and merits of every case vary, the failures alleged often involve people policies, procedures, training and other human factors.

“Security technology is only as good as the weakest human link behind it,” he pointed out.

Having a culture and climate of school safety where everyone is on the same page is important, Trump said. Even if a school’s perimeter’s doors have been physically secured, that doesn’t matter if a dangerous person is able to come into the building and sign in because protocols and procedures are not being enforced.

“School safety is everyone’s job, from the school custodian to the front office staff, the bus driver to your teachers and administrators,” he said. “And we have to make sure that that’s owned on a day-to-day basis by everyone in the schools.”

Transparent conversations with parents on what the schools are doing to prepare for a shooting incident need to be had, Trump said. This transparency is even more crucial after what happened in Uvalde, he added, where 19 students and 2 teachers died after a gunman opened fire in an elementary school building. A recent report by members of a Texas House committee investigating the massacre outlined “systemic failures and egregious poor decision making by law enforcement and the school system.”

Trump said that fully securing a school isn’t cheap, but school districts should be willing to spend at least as much on that as on other priorities.

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