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Education Features

School security workshop offers safety measures for classrooms


For administrators in Catholic schools in Western New York navigating the complex world of school security can prove daunting.

To provide some insights on what should be prioritized to keep Catholic school kids safe, the Diocesan Department of Catholic Education, in concert with its Diocesan Education Advisory Council and Insurance Services, sponsored a school security workshop recently to provide access to expert information.

Scott Mack of Assa Abloy displays one option for a classroom door lock during a school security workshop.

A representative from Assa Abloy, a Swedish conglomerate with revenues of more than $11 billion in the intelligent lock, security doors and hardware industry laid out the simple question to the attendees who include school administrators, school reps and pastors.

“Do your doors close and latch?” asked Scott Mack.  “I can help you figure that out.  Take a walk through your school and as you walk through, swing open those doors and make sure that they latch closed.”

“Your kids sure know which doors close and latch, and we want to help ensure that you are keeping the bad guys out,” he continued, explaining that Assa Abloy doesn’t charge a fee for consulting.   

On display, he showed a simple locking system with a red button as well as a more sophisticated battery powered locking system that could be activated from a central office as well as manually from inside the classroom to prevent an intruder who may have a stolen school pass key from accessing that room. 

Bill Naab of InkLabs asked participants what can you take back to your schools tomorrow?

Later in the presentation, Naab explained that schools need to review their doors, need to think about a security/risk assessment and need to consider glass film for their major points of entry.

A security firm based in Syracuse and founded after the Sandy Hook school killings produces a film for door glass and windows that makes it extremely difficult for active shooters to gain entry. Naab explained that the laminate film from the firm Armoured One should be used to secure the school’s main door, a primary focus of the risk/security assessments. 

Jeff Rinaldo of Vista Security Group provides security assessments for many businesses including schools. Currently five schools are in the process of being assessed. Rinaldo, retired chief of staff of the Buffalo Police Department, said that school administrators should allocate their security budgets for a security assessment. A basic tier one assessment typically costs about $4,500 according to Rinaldo. Vista also provides training on the Run, Hide and Fight protocols for active shooter situations.

“There are a lot of options to make our schools safer,” he explained. “It’s important to start somewhere and the entrance way or vestibule are very important focus points for protection.”

Bill Naab added that it is important to put up obstacles in your schools and then communicate those obstacles to your school community. 

Christian Riso, assistant superintendent of Catholic Schools, closed the workshop by explaining that there are funds available for reimbursement for non-public school safety equipment that will reimburse schools for equipment like door locks and window film, as well as for security assessments. 


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