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Jackie Craven

Can We Design Safer Schools?

By December 17, 2012

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Empty, modern classroom, chairs overturned on top of desks.A television commentator recently boiled over about school architecture. Trying to make sense of the Connecticut elementary school shootings, he questioned why classrooms have only one door and no second door for escape. However, many safety specialists recommend limiting the number of entrances.

Architects and school officials draw on a variety of approaches and technologies to improve school safety. But drills, lock-downs, emergency response programs, and architectural changes are only part of the solution. Maybe it's time to lock up the assault weapons.

See: Architects Seek Safer Schools

Your Turn: How Can We Build Better Schools?

Photo ©Jessica Alexander, jessdalexander on flickr.com, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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December 18, 2012 at 11:11 pm
(1) Steve Keller says:

Yes, we can build safer schools. Every classroom could be separated from otherwise adjacent rooms by a safe room that provides a place of refuge for both classrooms. Safe rooms resist tornados as well as bullets. Or, classrooms could have stairs to a refuge tunnel that connects to a larger area of assembly. We can more effectively control access to the building by a number of already widely used means and we can filter out sexual predators with a pretty good degree of certainty using existing video analytics. But one thing we need is a larger budget. But that extra money is reserved for security of judges in courthouses. There are other things we need, too. Changes to the civil liability laws that hold school officials financially liable if they so much as stop and question and adult that a camera identifies as a possible sexual predator or teachers who search kids lockers for weapons. We need cooperation from fire code officials who too often fail to realize that fire is not the only risk our kids face in school and refuse to allow certain types of lockdowns. I could go on and on. I could solve the problem but it takes a village to solve this problem.

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