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Old April 17, 2019, 08:56 PM   #51
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It's not "it could be." I was specifically told that I could not apply to be a School Shield consultant because I am not a law enforcement officer.
Then maybe it wasn't what you thought it was, or what they determined they needed wasn't what you thought they needed (not saying you were wrong). As Forged said I wouldn't take it personally.

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Old April 17, 2019, 09:03 PM   #52
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Just to be clear: when an armed teacher responds to the sounds of an active shooter, presumably by making his or her way towards the threat and abandoning the classroom full of students in front of them, who is in charge of the defensive measures within the classroom? Please don't tell me we are actually going to trust one of the students on this one. Been around many high school students lately?
Brother.. you have highlighted one of MANY problems with utilizing Teachers as protective services. Its common sense but people simply do not want to here that. They just want to feel good.


If EVERYTHING fails and a badguy tries to harm kids in the classroom, the armed teacher could be the last line of defense. In that circumstance, I could set aside all the other issues which make the idea of Teacher/Defender a problematic concept. Outside of that narrow circumstance, the arming of Teachers as "the plan" is counter to most everything I have ever learned about protection. It looks good on paper and it makes people feel good but its just not a competent protection plan for many reason.
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Old April 17, 2019, 09:08 PM   #53
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Building the physical plant is not likely the problem, they will probably have a municipal/county project manager or 2 or 3, a facilities manager, a schools facilities superintendent, local fire departments to oversee fire code issues, local code enforcement liaisons and of course a architectural firm.
The physical plant IS part of the problem. It's one thing when planning a new building. When surveying an existing building, the building may very well be part of the problem, and a member of the survey team who knows how [for example] school locks work and what the codes require/allow could be important.

As for local architects? Let me provide an example from the real world:

Several years ago the high school in my home town was planning a major addition and renovation project. $30 million worth of construction ... back when $30 was real money. Much of the money was coming from a state grant, and the rules here are that if the state funds the construction, the state gets to review the plans for code compliance. But the law only gives the state 30 days to review the plans once they've been submitted. If the state can't do it in that time, they let the local building official do it.

That's what happened in my town. But it's a small town, with only one guy as the entire building department. He didn't have the time to review a $30 million construction project within a 30-day window. I'm licensed as a building inspector as well as an architect, so the town hired me to review the plans as a consultant to the building department. Fine.

This was about a year or maybe two years after Columbine. Security -- and the possibility of a school shooter -- was high on everyone's list of priorities. I attended some of the public meetings on the project. The public asked about it, and the school board assured them that every effort was being made to ensure safety and security.

So imagine my surprise when I opened up the plans and found that all the classrooms in the new addition were going to have glass sidelights next to the classroom doors. And not bullet-resistant glass (which is very heavy and VERY expensive), just the same tempered glass you'd find in any storefront near a door. This was not a code violation, so it was outside of my responsibility. Nonetheless, I was bothered by it enough that I went over to the police department and discussed it with the deputy chief. He agreed: "That's pretty stupid." So I took it to the school board, and they referred it to the architects.

The architects' response was, "But we like it." So that's the way it was built.

So I'm not impressed by mention of the superintendent, a facilities manager, or an architect. Security is a mindset, and if the players aren't committed to understanding security as opposed to paying lip service to it, they're not bringing anything worthwhile to the table.
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Old April 17, 2019, 09:11 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
It's not "it could be." I was specifically told that I could not apply to be a School Shield consultant because I am not a law enforcement officer.
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Originally Posted by TunnelRat View Post
Then maybe it wasn't what you thought it was, or what they determined they needed wasn't what you thought they needed (not saying you were wrong). As Forged said I wouldn't take it personally.

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As someone who works in a school and understands that security takes in a lot of different aspects that require diverse perspectives, I take it personally. The NRA is becoming more irrelevant to the personal protection discussion and more statist in its direction. Cops don't have all the answers....sometimes, they don't even know all the questions.

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Old April 17, 2019, 09:15 PM   #55
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^^^ It's that diverse perspectives part that makes me so upset that the School Shield program is only open to LEOs. There is no diversity of perspective. Of course cops don't have all the answers. Just as architects don't have all the answers. But together, cops and architects might offer a broader range of options than a team made up only of cops.
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Old April 17, 2019, 09:35 PM   #56
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Nonetheless, I was bothered by it enough that I went over to the police department and discussed it with the deputy chief. He agreed: "That's pretty stupid."
So what about this interaction really required you to be an architect though? Even the deputy chief, without your background, was able to notice that sidelights next to doors wasn't a great idea. I think even a number of people here would be able to make that determination. It had more to do with common sense than true design know-how.

Quote:
So I took it to the school board, and they referred it to the architects.

The architects' response was, "But we like it." So that's the way it was built.
So this had nothing to do with either you or law enforcement recognizing a problem. The people you explained the problem to didn't care. In that case what difference does either a law enforcement or architecture background make? You can lead a horse to water.

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It's that diverse perspectives part that makes me so upset that the School Shield program is only open to LEOs. There is no diversity of perspective. Of course cops don't have all the answers. Just as architects don't have all the answers. But together, cops and architects might offer a broader range of options than a team made up only of cops.
And because your assistance was refused you know for a fact that no one on the program will have any knowledge of building and construction considerations?


I want to roll back to something. You have a good deal of experience in architecture, obviously. That alone qualifies you to comment on physical security. Yet in that previous post you brought up your NRA instructional and shooting background. Why? You don't really need that background to comment about architecture. The reality is when it comes to this type of situation some background with firearms and application of force is sort of expected, hence, imo, why you presented additional background. Is it really that surprising that the NRA would look primarily to law enforcement for this program? While I don't doubt that physical security should be part of the equation, most schools are strapped for money as is. How many will have the money to do major renovations specifically for school shootings? My guess is this Shield program will have more to do with helping schools work with what they have and low-cost changes that might be made rather than serious remodeling.
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Old April 18, 2019, 07:07 AM   #57
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So imagine my surprise when I opened up the plans and found that all the classrooms in the new addition were going to have glass sidelights next to the classroom doors. And not bullet-resistant glass (which is very heavy and VERY expensive), just the same tempered glass you'd find in any storefront near a door. This was not a code violation, so it was outside of my responsibility. Nonetheless, I was bothered by it enough that I went over to the police department and discussed it with the deputy chief. He agreed: "That's pretty stupid." So I took it to the school board, and they referred it to the architects.
How did that project involve school shield?


If they are limiting school shield to LEO ( 3+ years experience and up), its likely because the skill set which is paramount to the program is relative to LE training, knowledge, experience and not construction.
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Old April 18, 2019, 10:02 AM   #58
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Where I used to work has all the glass rooms with glass walls. You could bring down shutters but the idea was an attractive open concept. I asked the building supervisior (a for real ex-SEAL) what it would take to bring down a panel. He said about 4 shots. So much for hiding. Another school was building the same type of labs and I was asked my opinion by a colleague there. I mentioned the shooter aspect. He said it was a good one but probably go nowhere vs. aesthetics.
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Old April 18, 2019, 11:52 AM   #59
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We live in a shallow society where, often times, aesthetics takes precedence over safety and functionality. As an equipment operator and truck driver, I run into many problems with landscape architecture that make a delivery with a large vehicle nearly impossible. These things are rarely on the mind of the common architects or the people paying for the project. As long as it looks good in the drawings and for the PR photos afterward.
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Old April 18, 2019, 12:14 PM   #60
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I reference it as "building monuments to themselves" when aesthetics are given unreasonable precedence (and funding) over functionality. Common around here in schools and hospitals.

Back to a couple questions that came up:

What standards should teachers be required to train to and qualify for: IMO teachers seeing to carry a firearm in the classroom should follow the same yearly (or whatever) qualification standards as the minimum standard for a member of the state police force be it highway patrol or state police officer. This gives a "statewide" standard.

Who should pay for it: Teachers (or a third party) should be responsible for the bill for their initial training but, once achieved and qualification kept up, the district should pay for ongoing training and qualification - again the minimal training required of officers. No the district is not paying for your trip to Gunsite (or whatever).

Liability insurance: On the district. Districts foot the bill for suits pertaining to teacher and administration indiscretion all the time. This at least is intended to do some good.

What is the role of the armed teacher? Defense of the classroom / immediate area only. Teachers are not to be used in some active engagement exercise to aggressively pursue and eliminate threats. The role of the armed teacher is a last ditch effort should the defensive measures of the classroom be overcome.
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Old April 18, 2019, 02:28 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by FireForged
How did that project involve school shield?
It didn't. I didn't say it did. It was years before Sandy Hook or School Shield. I recounted that to refute the idea that just asking "a local architect" is assurance of getting well-thought out security ideas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FireForged
If they are limiting school shield to LEO ( 3+ years experience and up), its likely because the skill set which is paramount to the program is relative to LE training, knowledge, experience and not construction.
That attitude is the problem. You have perhaps encountered the expression, "When the only tool you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." There's a LOT more to providing schools with well-conceived, overall security plans and protocols than just what a cop (or a couple of cops) can bring to the table.
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Old April 18, 2019, 03:23 PM   #62
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It didn't. I didn't say it did. It was years before Sandy Hook or School Shield. I recounted that to refute the idea that just asking "a local architect" is assurance of getting well-thought out security ideas.
I was not suggesting that the user ask the architect about security issues. Building a facility with specialized requirements requires people to work in concert with other professionals. I was simply highlighting the possibility that another individual consulting on how to build the school is probably not what is predominately needed. If it were, its membership would likely include a majority of architects.

Quote:
That attitude is the problem. You have perhaps encountered the expression, "When the only tool you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." There's a LOT more to providing schools with well-conceived, overall security plans and protocols than just what a cop (or a couple of cops) can bring to the table.
If you need a hammer and the project is about issues that are indicative of hammers and hammer like implements, you don't bring a shovel.
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Old April 18, 2019, 09:35 PM   #63
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Well, to add insult to injury, a SRO in Alexandria, VA had a (probable) ND. The quote here is disturbing on many levels...

Quote:
"We're talking about arming teachers, and even the security personnel that are trained can't seem to make it work," one parent said
https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/l...476676103.html

Our local DFW tv news said it was while the SRO was unloading the gun, but I can't find verification for that.
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Old April 18, 2019, 11:16 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by FireForged
I was not suggesting that the user ask the architect about security issues.
Why not? Security is one of the major design parameters that an architect should be addressing in the design of a school. Security is integrally related to things like ingress provisions, egress provisions, materials choices, hardware selection and specification, compartmentation, communications, code compliance, and more. There's a lot more to a comprehensive security plan than just asking the cops what their SWAT team plan is.

Last edited by Aguila Blanca; April 19, 2019 at 10:38 AM. Reason: typo
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Old April 19, 2019, 11:03 AM   #65
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AB, how much training does an architect have in security issues? Is it a routine part of their schooling? And thus is it something that a licensed architect should reasonably be expected to be cognizant of in their designs for facilities such as schools?
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Old April 19, 2019, 12:50 PM   #66
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AB, how much training does an architect have in security issues? Is it a routine part of their schooling? And thus is it something that a licensed architect should reasonably be expected to be cognizant of in their designs for facilities such as schools?
I graduated from architecture school 47 years ago. Back then, the curriculum didn't even mention security, and I doubt that it does today. It also wasn't addressed in the licensing exam, and I doubt that it is today.

That said, just as a doctor is expected to develop expertise beyond his M.D. degree to engage in whatever specialty he/she chooses, an architect is also expected to know about factors affecting his/her projects. The specific knowledge required for designing schools is different from that required for hospitals, or prisons, or factories, or research laboratories.

That's why most clients hire larger firms for all but very small projects. When a school board hires "an architect" to design a school, they aren't really hiring "an" architect. They're hiring a firm. I've worked for two firms that do a lot of schools. There were about 50 people in each firm, with several licensed architects in each firm who pretty much specialized in just schools. That's a small firm by national standards. For comparison, Gensler has (I think) over 6,000 employees, in multiple offices around the country. I currently work for a mid-size A/E (architecture/engineering) firm that has about 500 employees spread over five regional offices.

But, even then, there's the question of priorities. Most architecture schools stress design as THE item of paramount importance. In the example I cited of the glass sidelights next to the classroom doors, even after it was pointed out that the sidelights created a security problem the lead architect for the project wanted to keep it because he liked it. He said some clap-trap about creating a "sense of openness and transparency" in the classrooms.

Nonsense. This is the same high school I attended. The classrooms all had windows, and the new classrooms have windows. The classrooms in the old wings of the school, when I was there, didn't have glass sidelights, and nobody cared. Most of the teachers left the door to the corridor open anyway, which would have (a) blocked the sidelight, and (b) left a larger opening than the glass anyway.

Fast forward, and I have attended adult ed classes in those new classrooms with the glass sidelights. I can speak with certainty only for myself, but I think I'm safe in saying that most (if not all) the students in my adult ed classes weren't aware of the sidelights and didn't spend any time looking out through them into the corridor. In other words, they created a security vulnerability while providing no actual, quantifiable benefit. They just satisfied the designer's preconception of what he thought was a great idea. And, unfortunately, the school board was made up of people who weren't really committed to security, they were only committed to saying they were committed to security. None of the members bothered to educate themselves on the topic, they completely delegated it to the architects. In a sane world, one might hope that "But I like it" would not be sufficient reason for building a security vulnerability into a new school wing, but we don't live in a sane world.

In the immediate aftermath of sandy Hook, the school board in the town next to mine prodly announced that they were going to upgrade security at their two grammar schools. But (for security reasons, of course) they wouldn't say what the upgrades consisted of. I had known the then-building inspector in that town for many years (he has since retired), so I asked him. The "upgrades" they installed were exactly the same "security" features that had just been installed at Sandy Hook, and which had (obviously) completely failed to provide any security against a lone shooter.

This is why a valid security analysis can't be done by a "team" that's made up exclusively of people from one specialty. That just institutionalizes tunnel vision.
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Old April 19, 2019, 01:45 PM   #67
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Thanks for the clarification. I suspected that security was not part of your formal training. I understand about gaining skills after graduation and licensing - I am a veterinarian and my daughter is a structural engineer. I had a dean in vet school who told us that our diploma was a license to start learning. It's a good attitude to take into life, but as you point out convincingly, not terribly common.
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Old April 19, 2019, 03:11 PM   #68
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ANOTHER SRO also discharged a gun unintentionally inside of a school. This time in Mesquite, Texas...

https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Me...508765901.html
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Old April 19, 2019, 07:00 PM   #69
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This is why a valid security analysis can't be done by a "team" that's made up exclusively of people from one specialty. That just institutionalizes tunnel vision.
To be fair, its rather difficult to make that judgment from the outside. If you are not on the team(so to speak), you don't really know who they are consulting with, who they are working with or where they are receiving information from.

I don't know anything about school shield programs but I have worked on building projects transition teams which were full of LE officials and have been a department liaison on similar projects. Although everyone on the team was part of the LE community in some way, we consulted with people all over the United States, Feds and carefully vetted contractors and specialists. Control was a large concern and there wasn't really a provision to "sign up" to help if you were not already selected as part of the team. A lot of that had to do with control as well as requirement placed on us regarding information. It wasn't tunnel vision at all but we picked the people based on our own standards, they didn't pick us.

Just because they do not allow non-LE to be part of the program does not mean they are not consulting closely with or receiving services of specialized individuals. I am sure you are a smart guy and I am sure you can find an avenue to help in some sort of capacity, it just might not be exactly in the way you want. Good luck all the same. I wish more people had a desire get involved in the betterment of school safety.
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Old April 19, 2019, 10:56 PM   #70
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To be fair, its rather difficult to make that judgment from the outside. If you are not on the team(so to speak), you don't really know who they are consulting with, who they are working with or where they are receiving information from.
I think we have differing definitions of "team." If the "team" is getting input from outside consultants, then the "team" is (IMHO) not a complete team. My definition of "team" would include any "consultants" necessary to provide a comprehensive review and recommendations. If that means architects and code consultants, then by my definition those should be part of the team, not "outside consultants."
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Old April 19, 2019, 11:25 PM   #71
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Gee,
I’m betting everyone that is in the 55-75 age range is still traumatized from all the early 1960’s “Duck and Cover” drills we all did in grade school...
“You can survive a nuclear blast”, etc, etc monikers.
Yea, right.

“Someone / some groups” need to deal with the current “threat du jour” and get over it. Every other generation has.
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Old April 19, 2019, 11:41 PM   #72
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TZAX, oddly enough, Duck and Cover has some practical uses. At the distances where one has time to react, flying debris and partial structural collapses are significant concerns, while instant vaporization is less an issue. (There are several websites that can do rough damage/survivability estimates for nuclear detonations. The 100% fatality zone is usually smaller than most people think.)

On topic, one wonders why an SRO would have their firearm unholstered at school...? Training helps, but cannot overcome bad habits or momentary stupidity.
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Old April 20, 2019, 12:50 AM   #73
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True Ramius,
Later in parts of Texas they became “tornado drills”.

But the bottom line is every generation has their PTSD generator: The heartiest adapt, overcome and survive. The snowflakes melt and become drama queens.

I love the British moniker “Keep a stiff upper lip “. They earned it.
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Old April 20, 2019, 01:13 AM   #74
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Quote:
I’m betting everyone that is in the 55-75 age range is still traumatized from all the early 1960’s “Duck and Cover” drills we all did in grade school...
“You can survive a nuclear blast”, etc, etc monikers.
Yea, right.
Duck and cover actually did traumatize some folks. As for effectiveness, actually, there was some genuine benefits to duck and cover, not for direct hits, but for "near" misses. The military even used a similar tactic in the field with troops. The field version of duck and cover helped prevent troops from getting flash blinded and by being hit by debris carried by the shock wave.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEmB1pNQMHg
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Old April 20, 2019, 06:28 AM   #75
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True Ramius,
Later in parts of Texas they became “tornado drills”.

But the bottom line is every generation has their PTSD generator: The heartiest adapt, overcome and survive. The snowflakes melt and become drama queens.

I love the British moniker “Keep a stiff upper lip “. They earned it.
Ahh we finally got to the point to break out the "snowflake" comments. Now we're getting somewhere. Yes we all know, previous generations walked uphill both ways in a snowstorm. Of course I could point out that ducking under a desk is a tad different than watching people armed with sims/UTM pistols run through the school and killing your teachers execution style and that far more US children have died from school shootings than ever died from nuclear bombs, but my guess is it would fall on deaf ears.

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