How To Make Schools Safer: 10 Products to Protect Against School Shootings

School shootings have been taking place in the U.S. for almost 200 years now.

One of the first school shootings ever recorded happened back in 1840 when a student shot a professor at the University of Virginia. Since then, there have been hundreds of other shootings at schools all across the country, including deadly shootings at Virginia Tech University, Sandy Hook Elementary School, and, of course, Columbine High School.

As a result, school officials have scrambled to try and figure out how to make schools safer. They've done it by putting new practices into place to limit the amount of access that those people outside of schools have to school buildings.

They've also done it by relying on a series of products created specifically to protect schools from shootings. Here are 10 products that can make any school building safer.

1. School ID Badges
In the wake of all the school shootings that have taken place over the course of the last 20 years, many schools have adopted school ID badges for students.

These badges make it harder for outsiders to sneak into a school. In the event of a school shooting, they're also designed to help school officials keep track of who is who.

But believe it or not, there are still a lot of schools that haven't come around to the idea of issuing school ID badges just yet. Studies have shown that less than 10 percent of American schools have made it mandatory for students to wear them.

Look for that to change moving forward with more schools asking students to wear ID badges at all times.

2. Auto-Lock Classroom Doors
One of the most effective ways to thwart a school shooter is by making it difficult for them to gain access to classrooms and other rooms throughout school buildings. More often than not, shooters will move on when they encounter locked doors.

With this in mind, some schools have started installing electronic auto-lock systems so that they're able to lock all of the classroom doors within a building in a matter of just seconds.

The one problem with this approach is that it can be very costly to install new locks on all of the doors inside of a school. It can also be very expensive to set up a system that will lock all of them at once.

But it's something that many newer schools are considering during construction.

3. Classroom Door Security Devices
Installing locks on classroom doors that can be locked automatically during a school shooting would be an ideal situation. But there's a much more cost-effective way to lock classroom doors and other doors in a crisis.

There are classroom door security devices that can be attached directly to the closers on outward-swinging doors to keep them closed tight. These devices are simple to install and can withstand extreme external forces.

If you're interested in seeing how one of these devices works, check it out here. It's a great solution for those looking to protect school buildings during active shooter situations.

4. Classroom Door Shades
There are many schools that install shades over classroom doors. Most do it to keep classrooms private and to prevent students from getting distracted by what's going on outside of their classroom's door.

But did you know that shades can also be a deterrent for school shooters?

Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, there was some evidence that suggested the shooter in that case skipped over entering at least one classroom because the shades were drawn.

Shades can make it appear as though a classroom is unoccupied. They can also make it difficult for a shooter to determine exactly what they might be walking into during a shooting.

5. Bulletproof Windows
Just about all schools keep their exterior doors locked these days to prevent people from entering without permission. But if someone really wants to get into a school, they could use a gun or another device to break a window so that they can get inside.

Because of this, there are lots of schools that have installed bulletproof windows. These windows can be broken down by a gun if someone is willing to work hard enough at it. But it usually takes upwards of 10 minutes to do it.

Installing bulletproof windows isn't cheap and could cost more than $1,000 in some cases for a single door. But when used on the right doors, it can make school buildings significantly safer.

6. Bulletproof Backpacks
The windows inside of schools aren't the only things that are bulletproof these days. In recent years, many parents have also begun investing in bulletproof backpacks.

Bulletproof backpacks can be expensive. There are some that go for more than $500.

They also aren't able to stand up to the bullets from automatic guns in many cases. They're only designed to withstand bullets from handguns.

But if nothing else, they provide parents with a peace of mind they wouldn't have otherwise. They also give students a last line of defense during school shootings.

Manufacturers have started to make more than just bulletproof backpacks, too. Some schools are also using:

• Bulletproof desk calendars
• Bulletproof whiteboards
• Bulletproof binders
• Bulletproof writing pads
• Bulletproof seat cushions

All these items can be picked up and used for protection if students and teachers ever come face-to-face with a school shooter.

7. Clear Backpacks
In addition to bulletproof backpacks, there are also some schools asking students to carry around clear backpacks.

But these backpacks are not equipped to protect students from potential shooters. Instead, schools are using them to keep an eye on what students are carrying around when they're at school.

As you might imagine, this approach to school safety isn't going over well with everyone. Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida—the site of a school shooting in early 2018—protested their school's decision to force students to carry clear backpacks after the tragedy.

8. Gunfire Detectors
During most school shootings, someone inside of a school is quick to call 911 right away. But during some shootings, it can take a minute or two for it to happen. That can lead to a delayed response from the police.

To combat this problem, schools in some cities have started to install gunfire detectors that can pick up on gunfire and alert the local authorities right away. These detectors are designed to pick up on the unique sounds made by gunfire.

9. Panic Buttons
In early 2019, New Jersey passed a new law called "Alyssa's Law." It's named after Alyssa Alhadeff, one of the 17 students killed during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Although she was killed in Parkland, Florida, Alhadeff was a native of New Jersey.

Alyssa's Law calls for all New Jersey public schools to have silent panic buttons installed. These buttons will allow schools to let police know about a school shooting immediately.

In the coming years, there could be other states that follow New Jersey's lead and have similar panic buttons installed in their schools. They would make it easy for school officials to alert the authorities if a school shooting ever takes place.

10. Baseball Bats, Rocks, and Hockey Pucks
At this point, schools are willing to try just about anything to keep students safe. Some of them have even gone to great lengths when trying to find out how to make schools safer.

One school district in Pennsylvania, for instance, decided to pass out miniature baseball bats to more than 500 teachers. While the district was mocked for taking this approach to school safety, officials argued that baseball bats would be better than nothing during an active shooter situation.
Another school district in Pennsylvania also took a similar approach to school safety. They handed out five-gallon buckets filled with river rocks to students.

The district also agreed to step up security measures in other areas after their rocks-in-a-bucket plan was criticized. But the school officials is that district also argued that supplying teachers with rocks certainly couldn't hurt them during a school shooting.

And it's not just schools in Pennsylvania coming up with wacky ideas to stop school shooters. A college in Michigan came up with a pretty wild way to beef up security as well.

Oakland University invested in more than 2,500 hockey pucks and distributed them to those in their college community. The pucks were purchased to be a "last strategy" for stopping a school shooter.

America Must Continue to Learn How to Make Schools Safer
In a perfect world, school officials would figure out how to make schools safer without having to buy products to do it.

But school shootings have, unfortunately, become a part of American culture over the last two decades. About one school shooting takes place every week now.

This means that schools need to invest in the right products to maintain school safety. It also means that they have to keep their eyes peeled for new products that could make their schools even safer in the future.

Check out our site to see some of the ways in which students are fighting back against school shootings to try and make their schools safer places.

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