Explore and Prevent 5 Key School Safety Vulnerabilities
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Welcome, everyone, and thank you for joining today’s webinar hosted by Raptor Technologies. I’m Shannon Gonzalez with Raptor, and I will be facilitating today’s presentation and discussion. This webinar of the Raptor school safety series is entitled Explore and Prevent 5 Key School Safety Vulnerabilities. In this webinar, Mr. Garret Rain will discuss how to pinpoint and explore practical mitigations to the most common school security and planning vulnerabilities. Following Mr. Rain’s presentation, we will hear briefly from Mr. Edward Kenna, National Manager here at Raptor, who will provide us with a quick overview of the Raptor solutions available to support your school safety initiatives, and then we’ll move into the live Q&A. So, as you have questions, please feel free to enter them into the question box at any time. Also, you will receive a copy of the recording of this webinar in your email following the presentation just in case you’d like to refer back to it.
I’m thrilled now to introduce our guest speaker. Garret Rain retired as a captain from the Pennsylvania State Police after 27 years of service. He led the PSP Domestic Security Division where he was responsible for the administration of the Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Team, also known as RVAT. He conducted detailed physical site security assessments of schools throughout Pennsylvania and Mr. Rain led the RVAT in publishing the 2015 K-12 School Safety Report that detailed common vulnerabilities identified from over 300 RVAT school safety assessments. He was a member of the project team that provided safety training to [inaudible 00:01:39] schools throughout the Pennsylvania area through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. He is a 2009 graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. As a private consultant, he currently provides school safety planning and preparedness services, including training, site assessments and plan reviews. Mr. Rain, thank you so much for joining us today.
Shannon, it’s my pleasure to be here, and an honor to represent Raptor in this webinar, so thank you very much. In our time together this afternoon, we are going to touch on at least five different school safety vulnerabilities. We’re really going to focus on a couple of the five. If I were to list the five things that seem to be most problematic in, oh, we can say public K through 12 schools, are access control issues. We’re definitely going to spend a good bit of time looking at those problems. Visitor vetting, which is another item that we are going to be able to spend quite a bit of time at, and school culture also plays a very important role. We won’t have a lot of time to discuss that topic. Haphazard planning, we may touch on that some as time allows, and unfocused exercises.
But in this time, we’re really going to spend a lot of our time really looking at common campus vulnerabilities. When as was mentioned just a few moments ago, I led the Domestic Security Division in the state police, and one of the many roles in that division was the Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Team. That assessment team assessed many different places, but schools were the bread and butter and are the bread and butter of that team. In fact, the team by a new Pennsylvania law was just expanded by two-thirds to help meet a lot of these needs that were there.
By the time when I left there, there were about 500 schools in the waiting list and there were at least 400, 500, 600 schools that had been previously assessed. One of the call mark works we worked on to try to help deal with a lot of the backlog in schools was looking at what could we provide information that would help schools know what common things are almost always found deficient whenever the physical site security assessment was done at the school? That’s the reports that you’re seeing on the screen right now, the Pennsylvania State Police School Safety Report, which you could Google and download, and I would recommend that you do. It’s going to be a reinforcement of the information that we’re presenting today.
So we’re going to look at these vulnerabilities, but in those vulnerabilities we’re going to look at practical tips on how to mitigate these potential challenges. All the information that we’re providing you today is going to be off of best practices. When a team is able to assess 300, 400, 500 different like places, schools in this context, you’re able to really build a best practice catalog, a best practice of things that are not going so well, and mitigations on how to improve it. So you’ll see some specific techniques to identify and also campus visitor areas and how to vet them more effectively.
When we think about what our goal is in a school assessment, physical site security assessment, we’re worried about the people. Yeah, we’re concerned about the property, but if the school burns down at two o’clock in the morning and no one is hurt, yeah, there’s a financial loss, but no one is hurt. Our first goal and concern is hardening the target and mitigating losses. We also are really just looking at, and it’s when we think about all the issues in relation to schools, whether it’s the plan or the physical plant or school safety, security, more force protection around our windows, whatever it is, we can get overwhelmed.
But the word of encouragement that I’d like you to hear and that I’d like you to take away from this time that we have this afternoon is that our goal is just to continue moving the ball forward. This is football season. In football season, if we have a football team that can’t pass, but every time they pass the ball they can move the ball three and a half yards, every time they touch it, if that were our high school team, they would still be a winning team. We love to see the hail Mary passes and do a big thing and solve it all and now it’s all done.
Well, when it comes to physical site security or plans for our schools, it’s never done and it’s never perfect. It’s a process. You need to be in the process of continually getting better. Just continue to move the ball forward. You may be in a position that is very uncomfortable for you right now, but we just need to move the ball forward every time you touch the activity, whether it’s your plan or your site.
This slide is really giving an outline of what I believe is a philosophy of where assessments need to go. We do the assessment to find out what our baseline is on the physical side of the school, but then we need to know what the risks are for this site, and then we can move into working on how to build an effective FEMA and compliant emergency operations plan, and then we can exercise the plan. So let’s jump in and start looking at some of the common issues. I like pictures. Hopefully you do as well, and I think that will help us explore some of the issues.
Let’s think about vehicle control at our schools. Yes, we have walking districts and yes, there are always walking students. But in most schools in most districts, most people get there by buses or students get there by cars. So how in the world do we control that traffic? Well, here’s a list of various things we need to think about, but again, let’s look at some pictures. This particular picture is a school, and where the vantage point of this photo was taken is that I’m really standing on the curb of a street across the street. That’s a state route going left/right in front of you, and that’s the school campus.
Now, we see that there’s a nice sign saying do not enter, but if I have evil intent I could do this. And if I have evil intent and I don’t really care what happens to me, and let’s say I’m driving a 1972 F-150 pickup, and I’ve got a couple Jerry cans of gasoline and a fusee and I don’t care if I die, I could really make a lot of mess real quick. Because I’m able to get, what this is called here is a high-speed avenue of approach. I have a nice red carpet runway to let me run right into a major door to get into the complex. Where we’re looking is at the end of that runway. That’s actually their gym auditorium area.
So how do you mitigate it? Well, in this case you see I’ve marked up the photos where I recommended this school install some bollards to stop any vehicles from being able to smash into the school. Well, let’s pretend that maybe bollards don’t … That’s an option. In some places you’d literally have to use the official bollard, but we’re working on a shoestring and a prayer. We’ve got a budget constraint. How can we better secure and mitigate some of these high-speed avenue approaches if we’ve got limited budget?
Well, can you afford boulders? Big rock boulders? Well, maybe this is an option. This is the same school but a different part of their campus, where that road that you see by that brick building, that’s where I was standing when I took the previous photo. They also had a nice runway to the grass to drive into another side of the more formal auditorium. The other one was the gym. What if we had some boulders and we just stuck them in the way? That’s an affordable way of solving the problem.
Other issues in schools often that the utility lines are not well protected. This school is no exception. They have some yellow little posts there, but this is the main bus way getting in and out of that side of the school, and that’s the main gas line, so they needed additional bollard protection. But let’s think about the traffic plan. Not everybody has an evil intent to smash their vehicle into your school. Sometimes things just happen by accident, and students could get run over by accident, unfortunately. We all probably have seen and heard of those occasions. Do we have a plan for how to flow traffic through the school?
This is another school, where on the left-hand side of the imagery over here, this is the middle school. The area over here is the high school, and you can see this school did a good job of delineating their parking lots and who’s supposed to be where. Right here in the green line is where the drop-off is. Whether they’re middle school students or high school students, they all get dropped off and we need to have clear, effective signage. I have marked on here little one-way arrows to show people where they’re supposed to go, and do not enter kinds of arrows. But do we also have a clear, distinct path where the buses go? This school does. The drop-off with the parents is on one side, and the buses are coming through on the other side. You can see that in the orange arrows there, whether it’s the mini-buses or if it’s the bus buses.
So moving on, let’s think about door control. We’ll get to visitor processing a little bit later, which is a most apt topic for Raptor, but we also just need to think about all doors. Do we have the appropriate notices on our door? Are we leaving our doors unlocked? Some districts that I’ve seen, their doors have locks on them but due to the poor wear and tear or to excessive wear and tear. The doors are not closing and they’re not latching and they’re not locking, and many times a day they’re found ajar and anyone could walk in. That is a non-acceptable situation. Looped handles, we’ll see some pictures to discuss that a little bit more.
This is a school that I’ve marked up the front door of their imagery with some suggestions on how to improve the signage. You can see that the number one at the top here shows us this is door one, and there’s a door numbering schema that should be used where it goes clockwise around the building, door entry area one, entry area two, and so forth. But we need to have signs on the doors that tell them that we are using our closed circuit televisions, and that’s what CCTV stands for, closed-circuit television system.
We also need to have signage on our doors that tells people, don’t enter here. Go to the right entrance. Go to the visitors’ entrance. Go to the office entrance. This helps steer just people who don’t know what door to go into, into the right place, but it also provides an opportunity for law enforcement to maybe cite or charge people who are probing the exterior of your building, if you’ve got signage that says don’t come in here and they keep trying to come in.
If we’re going to steer traffic though to our visitors’ entrance, doesn’t our visitors’ entrance really need to have big and bold signage so they know which one of these doors is the visitors’ door? I think that’s helpful. We see some things marked in red here, and those are our looped handles. We’ll talk a little bit more about the looped handles as we go, too. Let’s look at another example. This school has an exterior perimeter. This is the back doorway area, the red markings on there to indicate that they need to apply force protection measures, films to keep the doors from being broken open or shot through and walked in.
But, what do they have sitting here in the lower left? A nice, big chunk of limestone. I wonder why that’s there? Well, we all know why it’s there. It’s there because they’re using it as a door chock, so they can leave the door unlocked and they can get in and out quickly. Not only is that a problem, but leaving a nice big boulder right beside your glass window that doesn’t have force protection measures applied, how hard would it be to pick up that stone or that rock and throw it through the window, and they’ll walk on in?
Let’s look at the looped handles issues. Looped handles create an issue, because if someone has evil intent but they’re on a budget, like the Virginia Tech kind of event, I just need a few lengths of chain and a couple of padlocks and I can lock everybody in the building. If I get in there, then I can take my good old time doing whatever evil I’d like to do. The recommendation is as long as building codes permit is that this is an exterior kind of door. How about if we remove the left one? Because we never seem to pull on that one anyway, and half the time it’s always locked. If it’s an interior one, what if we can’t afford to replace the push bars on both sides? We just replace it on one side. That may help mitigate some of our costs and allow us to better secure our facilities and keep our staff and students safe.
Let’s think about parking. Parking issues often also abound, and let’s take a look at some pictures. A little context in this photo might help. The vehicle is obviously parked next to a building. This is obviously a school building, and what is right behind us off to our right and rear is the cafeteria? Letting staff park their vehicles right in front of the cafeteria provides an opportunity that either they or maybe a disgruntled spouse or somebody, coworker, wanted to put a device in their vehicle and it went boom, the cafeteria would go with it. So, we need to keep vehicles farther away from the buildings.
Let’s think about parking. If there’s one thing that’s almost always wrong or poorly marked at a school, it’s clear signage for the visitor of, where do I go to park my car? Where do I park my car, and how do I get into this building? Pretend that you are a visitor who’s never been at your school before. How do they know where they’re supposed to go? They don’t, unless there’s big, bold signage to tell them so. So we need a sign to say, “Hey, visitor, park over there.” And when they get closer to the there, there’s signs saying, “This be the parking spot that I am supposed to use.”
This is another example from a different school. You drive up to this elementary school. Do we see any visitors’ signage? Nope. But what if it looked a little bit more like this? What if there was that sign that said visitor parking here, and we put visitor parking on the parking stalls? They also needed a few more boulders there to help protect their building. Common issues are reserving parking spots for leads, principals, superintendents, nurses. This makes that person vulnerable. If a person would like to seek vengeance or seek harm against the superintendent of the school district, or the principal or the nurse, they’re stalking them. They now know what kind of car they park, where they park it, and now they have an opportunity to stop them and harm them. We shouldn’t be telling people where our leads park their vehicles.
Parking passes; this school district did a great job of having different parking passes, but they got a little bit carried away. They put a little too much information on the parking pass, whether it was a junior student or a senior student or an employee. That now tells everyone when they’re at the grocery store or if they’re parked in their driveway or on the street, that they are an employee of the school district, or they’re a senior student at the district. Having color coding is a great idea, but a little too much information is not good for school safety.
Marking their parking stalls; parking stalls should be marked, because if someone sees a suspicious vehicle in slot 65, it’s really a whole lot easier to say it’s in slot 65 than over there somewhere. Many recommend that we have a hark linking, that only one vehicle can ever park in spot 65. There may be some value in that, but I think there’s problems with it as well. What happens when somebody makes a mistake and parks in the wrong spot? It creates a cascading problem throughout the whole lot. But also, if spot 65 is the employee parking lot for the teacher and she’s having an estranged relationship with her violent husband, well, now he knows where she parks. It’s better off I think to say, this is the green lot, and everybody’s allows to park in the green lot, but still mark the slots nonetheless.
Let’s think grounds control. How do we protect the exterior grounds around our school buildings? Let’s look at some additional signage as you glance through the text on the screen. We often create opportunities for people to get on our roof. Well, if they can get on our roof they can probably climb up and get onto, there’s a hatch normally there that’s often not well secured and they can get into the building. A more serious, a more practical problem, yes, burglary is a problem, but what if they’re kids? Because they’re kids, and getting on the roof might be fun, and climbing around up there might be fun.
One school administrator said that they had problems in previous years because the kids used to like to get up onto the roof, but not just get on the roof. They’d take their bikes on the roof to ride around on the school. How hard would it be for them to ride the bike off the top of the school? If they know that problem exists and they haven’t done something to prevent it, liability abounds. So this is … The same are true with the tree. This tree needs trimmed so that people can’t climb easily.
About every high school has this problem. If you’ve got a high school and you’ve got a wood shop, you’ve got a dust collection unit. That dust collection unit is normally an easy thing to climb onto to get on the roof. Well, this district made it a whole lot easier because they put a nice tub right next door, so you can climb on the tub to get up onto the dust collection unit and get on the roof. Shrubbery is an issue. It’s an issue for, yes, someone could put a bomb there. If I’m a drug dealer, it’s a great place to put my stash, or if I’m a drug dealer and I have weapons, it’s a great place to keep my weapons in case I need to use them to enforce some of my collection.
But what if I’m a sexual predator? Isn’t that also a great place to grab people? Well, in this case we have a school that this is the gym. This is not the gym, excuse me. It is the natatorium. It is their pool, that they use and lease out during the night, so swimsuit-clad kids are going in and out of those doors with shrubs where someone could stalk them. The shrubs need removed.
Signage is useful. It keeps honest people honest, and it provides opportunities for police to arrest people who aren’t. If we’ve got a good, clear sign that tells people that they’re not welcome here after this time, then they’re there, then police can take law enforcement action. But it only helps if you can actually read the sign. The kind of sign is going to be dependent on what you’re able to do in your district. The best sign is to say, no one’s allowed here anytime, but that doesn’t work so well. This is the one in the lower, down here in the red. Because you know, my tax dollars paid for this school, and if I want to walk around the grounds during the day and get my exercise, shouldn’t I have the right to? Well, that may be an argument. This sign might be your best option, the dusk to dawn warning. People can’t be here at night, so when we have folks parking in the parking lot at two o’clock in the morning, the police can take law enforcement action.
We need trash receptacles around our buildings, and we need a dumpster, but where we put them is another issue. Often, we put our trash receptacles too close to the building. You can see these here, and I just took the imagery and moved them out. Yes, they still need to be there, but what if we move them further out? Just like the shrubs, I can put my device in there if I’m a bomb person, but if I’m a drug dealer, I could store my stash there or my weapons there. Let’s just move them further away from the school and provide less opportunity for access.
Dumpsters; our kitchen folks want the dumpsters close, because hauling the trash is a difficult effort. But if the dumpster’s close, we have a variety of issues. Yes, it’s a place for a bomb. More effectively, if I just want to start a nice fire and I can throw a fuse or fusee in there, a road flare, I can start a nice blaze going quite nicely. If it’s really close to the building, I might be able to take the whole building with it. Even more practical concerns is what love dumpsters? Critters love dumpsters, whether they’re the four-footed rat kind or the many-footed kind of cockroach kind. And if the dumpster is too close to the building, how long is it going to take the rats and the roaches to figure out where the food is coming from, and make a nest and make a home in your school? Move the dumpsters further away.
Lighting control; most schools have lighting, but the lighting at the schools, even if it’s fully optimized, in other words it’s all working, it’s often insufficient. When I’ve been out at schools most recently, I would say that on average I’d check the nighttime lighting just to see how many of them are lit, that up to 40%, 50% of the fixtures are often nonfunctional. So now you’ve got an extremely dark environment which allows for the opportunity of crime to be committed, and it also adds some school safety issues for our visitors and our staff.
The examples of broken imagery are seen here. We also see that when you look there, this is a company that does work to actually test how much light you have going around, and what lumens are at certain distances under light poles, and then apply additional new lighting so that it comes up to national best practice standards. This is a specialty service that is worthwhile employing, find out if your lot is lit as well as it should be.
Utility control; we need to have gas and electric and oil and all those things in our buildings for them to work effectively, but are they safe? Not in the sense that we think our oil boiler is going to blow up, but could something be done to the item on the outside of the building that would cause it to not function or to burn or explode or create an issue? These are outside the kitchen, and you can see they’ve got the propane tank sitting right next door. The tank itself is somewhat vulnerable, but the lines all the more so, easily broken and tampered with.
This is an example not at a school, but you can see there’s a large propane container and at least they’ve got a fence to keep people away, which is a good thing. Gas main coming in, but it doesn’t have sufficient boulder or bollard protection in case it gets struck by a vehicle. The actual transformers are often left unsecured and could be struck, which will then take out the electric inside your campus. The more, the most common problem is the electrical panel box is either in the hallways or the rooms in your buildings, the locks in these, either the keys are missing or they don’t know where they are or they just don’t bother to close them, so people can open them up and then they can start flipping the circuit breakers off. If this is just an item of mischief, that’s one thing. But if I want to do that in the middle of an armed intruder event, I’m creating additional chaos. Even if just one kid decided to do it out of fun during one of your fire drills, that could create injury.
Let’s talk about closed-circuit television control systems. A variety of different issues there, there’s some recommendations that are there. Imagery should be kept for 15 days. It should be a web-based system to allow off-site monitoring. Let’s look at some pictures and get some ideas of what’s wrong. This is an elementary school. They’ve got the looped handles. They need a bigger, better visitor signage. They’ve got a camera there, but that camera is about 10 years old. It is color, but the image resolution is so poor that you can’t make out people, and the field of view is so limited that you barely see the people just walking in. The only people you’re really going to see is if they were standing right where I was standing when I took this photo.
Looped handles again, issue. That’s a KnoxBox in the green. That’s a box that’s used by firemen. It’s a good thing, and it’s one that you should look at. But when I looked at this elementary school, excuse me, the principal there had a special … The software to access the imagery needed to be on a special PC. It was on her desk, and she tries to fire up that PC and guess what? It doesn’t work. It won’t boot up. It hasn’t been on in I don’t know how long. Well, assessing the district further, we’re over at the high school looking at a variety of things, and guess what? They have another one of these special access PCs sitting in the office of the high school, and guess what again? It won’t boot up. It doesn’t start, and it isn’t funny. There is no one who’s able, who could get onto that system quickly to look at it, to see who’s where and what. To have the imagery and then not be able to access it defeats the purpose.
Generator; why do I have a picture of a generator when I’m talking about closed-circuit television systems? Well, is your closed-circuit television on the generator? All the power that runs to it, is it on there? When the power goes out and the generator kicks on, are your cameras gone, too? How do you know? Well, turn off the power. Turn on the generator. Check the closed-circuit TV and I also recommend that you would check the PA systems, your phones, your internet, those items as well.
Let’s look back at cameras. This is not a school, but how hard would it be to beat this closed-circuit television system with it plugged in right there? We just have to reach up and turn it off. This is an image of a place where the folks coming up to the window are actually able to see the imagery on the screens, so they know what you see. Here’s a better example. This is a high school where they put in 40 great cameras, and then put two monitors up and everyone who’s in the office now gets to see what the field of view is for each camera, and what it isn’t. It needs to be a bit of a mystery to the bad guy of what you can see and what you can’t see. Them knowing where your holes are makes you vulnerable.
Access control, which fits quite nicely into our Raptor discussions. How are we getting people into the building? How are we vetting visitors? How do we identify our staff? Are we making sure that they’re wearing their badges? Are we escorting our visitors? Is there anyone assigned to go out and check the exterior doors throughout the day and make sure that they’re still truly locked? Let’s look at our front door, because that’s where most people come in, anyway. Most schools in the ’60s and ’70s were built according to this structure. There was a double door system there that I would call a weather vestibule, and it’s not intended for school safety or security control. It’s basically to keep cold air out in the winter and hot air out in the summer.
Well, what if we could turn that into a secure vestibule? How could we do that affordably? Well, what if these doors over here are locked, as they are, and there’s buzz-in capacity on those doors, which these ones were? But these second set of doors were actually locked with push exit only, and this then became your visitor lobby, where it would look something like this. The people come in from the outside. There’s an A phone there, a video phone, where they call to state their purpose for the visit. If it seems like it could be kosher, we can buzz then into this area. And if they’re buzzed into this area, we’d have another phone that could be used to communicate with them or for them to communicate with the office. Have a good camera in there, so we can see their movements, and we can even put our sign in/sign out process in there, maybe. We’ll talk more about that sign in/sign out process and the Raptor opportunities there in some other imagery.
But the goal is, the fewer people we let into the building the less risk we have. If they’re just there to pick up Susie for the dental appointment, why can’t they just wait in the visitors’ secure lobby until she’s ready? Likewise though, they’re there for Susie’s parent/teacher conference, we can let them sit there until it’s time to get them. Now we’ve got time, and time is our ally, and it’s our adversary’s enemy. If we have time to evaluate someone and get a feel for their body language to see if they’re carrying a bag, is there something suspicious about them? We have a better chance to decide whether or not we really want to let them into our building. Maybe we can even vet them before we even let them in. We’ll see that on another image coming up.
The glass on these doors really needs to be secured so that if someone did have a firearm and shot through the glass, they wouldn’t be able to climb right through it. Some force protection film or glass would be necessary here. That is also required. Let’s look at it from the picture though of the visitor from all the way in the door. This is a school, of course, and people are driving up to the school, and guess what they see now? I’m a visitor, and look, there’s a great big sign greeting me telling me where to go. Once I clear that spot, I make that turn, I see a whole bunch of spots that say, hey visitor, park here.
Having parked my car, I see a great big sign in front of the entrance that says visitors’ entrance. Is there any doubt in the mind of the person how I’m supposed to get in that building? Shouldn’t be. Once they get buzzed in from that door right here, they’re in the lobby. And in this lobby area, what if this window right here that my mouse is wiggling around at, what if that became teller glass? And what if they did need to drop off some paperwork or some lunch money or something, that that could be done and accomplished and then they just turn around and walk out the door?
What if they’re a visitor for the parent/teacher conference? Well, they could hand their driver’s license to the person through that glass, and the person on the other side could start processing them through the Raptor system so that they would be able to know whether or not they’re a person we even want in the building in the first place. It’s harder to get them out if we don’t want them in. It’s easier to keep them out. What if we took that visitor lobby place and extended the glass out of it, and gave them a comfortable place to sit and a place where we can watch them? We could still have people exit if they are necessary.
And what if it looked a little bit more like this? They come in the front door again. Here’s our teller glass, and if they’re there for the dental appointment, well, they just wait at the chairs until it’s time to let her out, Susie out. If they’re there for Susie’s parent/teacher conference, they can pass their license through the glass. They can get vetted through the Raptor system, and then when we know that we can see with a camera in here that they are not looking nervous or unusual or strange, we can come and collect them and escort them to this place they need to be.
But how does the camera system look inside of the school? Well, inside that school where that secretary is sitting right there, this is the same school, what if we had like four monitors here? The first monitor is dedicated towards the camera visuals showing where the person is driving in and parking. The second camera is showing the person walking up the steps into the front, to the front door. The third one is showing them at the front door, and the fourth one is showing them as they’re sitting in the lobby.
Now, we’ve been able to completely see and vet our people. Here’s that process in text that we just talked through as we looked at the image piece. Do we have armed security on site? Do we have school resource officers? Armed security is a useful and effective tool. There was a time when people would argue against that, and that time seems to mostly have gone. Having a school resource officer is effective, but what we’ve seen in the Parkland incident, one of the outcomes of that besides that particular school resource officer not doing their job in a criminal kind of way, is that having just one for a 2,000-student school isn’t enough. There needs to be some sort of ratio that’s considered on how many school resource officers we have in relation to our staffing. I haven’t seen numbers on what that ratio should look like as yet, but it’s a conversation that is starting to take hold.
What about our plan? Do you have a plan? Is your plan really a plan? Is your plan framed in an emergency operations planning structure that FEMA and I’m sure your state would recommend, where one chunk of it is a basic plan, concept document. The second chunk are functional annexes where we detail what we do before, during and after for each and every role for a lockdown, for a shelter in place, for a take cover, for all of our protective actions. And did we break down what our threat hazards are? What are we going to do particularly in a HAZMAT incident? What are we going to do particularly in a flood or in a hurricane or other kind of weather event? Most often, schools do not have emergency operations plans that are effective.
We also see that some of their policies are flawed. Do I have a key control policy and am I following it? Do I have a mail handling policy, a bomb threat policy, a suspicious package process? All of those are normally issues, so let’s look at the core key takeaways of things, and let’s see which ones could cost us money. How many of these core problems really cost us money? Well, the first one is a lack of means of securely vetting visitors. Well, if you do decide to automate your system, that one could cost you some money but it’s not as much as what you think.
Let’s look at the second one though, leaving exterior doors propped open. That’s a human problem. It’s us with rocks and pieces of wood, and just propping our doors open. Not securing internal doors; it would be hard to find a school that doesn’t have doors on their classrooms and doesn’t have locks on those doors, but we just choose sometimes not to lock them. Let’s look at some additional common takeaway issues. Not requiring our staff to show photo identification cards. Again, not a new cost item. A lack of a multi-hazard EOP. That one you could do yourself, but at the same time if you hire someone that could cost you some money. And not conducting regular hostile action drills; your police and fire and emergency services folks would be pleased to come in and do that at your school. It gives them great practice.
So of all the things we’ve looked at that are issues, how many of them really could cost money? Not so many, so that focuses on what we really need to look at. Here’s some recommended training opportunities for you. The Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium has great training and they have some online ones. There’s some courses for you and your staff that you should consider, and there’s some planning aids that are there as well. You can see that imagery for the FEMA planning, and Pennsylvania has an all hazards tool kit that’s useful there, and we saw the RVAT pieces as well. I have links to a lot of these things already, out on the Rain Public Planning website under resources to use, so you can see this information there listed as well.
Am I partnering with my public school safety partners, police and fire, to engage in drills and exercises, seminars, workshops, tabletop exercises? Am I exercising my plan? An exercise has to be rooted in testing something about your plan. If we’re just doing an exercise just because we think it’s cool and it has nothing to do with our plan, then we’re not being effective with the time and the activity.
Here are some additional options of service for you. If you’re in Pennsylvania, you could get a hold of the Pennsylvania State Police Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Team, for them to come out and do more for a site assessment. If you’re in Pennsylvania or if you’re elsewhere, then you’re always welcome to consider Rain Public Planning for your school safety and preparedness needs. So, I very much appreciate the opportunity we’ve had here to discuss, and it also now gives Edward an opportunity for him to talk a little bit more about the extensive services that Raptor Technology has to help you keep your students and staff safe.
Thank you so much, Garret. Edward, we will now transition it over to you at this time.
Great. Thank you so much, Shannon, and Garret, thank you. That was some very valuable and actionable insight. So over the next couple of minutes we’re going to be compiling some questions either for Garret or for me, that we’ll address shortly during the Q&A session. So please use the chat feature of GoToWebinar to type your questions in. So in the meantime, I am going to take a moment to introduce Raptor to you, for those of you who may not be familiar with us.
So Raptor is the number one provider of school safety technologies for K through 12 schools. We were actually founded back in 2002, and today we serve over 24,000 K-12 schools across America. These include some of the top 10 largest districts, like Miami-Dade and Houston ISD, all the way down to single-school districts and individual charter and private schools. Our mission at Raptor is very simple. Excuse me, it is to protect every child, every school, every day. So at Raptor we have three main products that we provide, Visitor Management, Volunteer Management, and Emergency Management. I’m going to go into some detail on each in turn, and again feel free to use the GoToWebinar chat feature to ask questions as we go here.
So Raptor’s Visitor Management system is going to replace your traditional front office pen and paper sign-in sheet with a digital system. It’s going to allow you to know who’s on your campus and why they’re there. So this system is going to perform two instant checks on your visitors, your volunteers, your contractors, and one is an instant sex offender background check. To put that into perspective, we flat about 50 sex offenders per day trying to enter our clients’ schools. The second check we call a custom check that allows a school or district to import its own list of unwanted visitors, and most of our clients use these custom checks to keep track of custody issues so the front office will always know which guardians can pick up which students. We issue about 150 of these custom alerts every day.
On to Volunteer Management. Our Volunteer Management system provides a school or district with an end-to-end solution for managing its volunteers. This is going to replace your cumbersome paper-based volunteer applications with some online digital applications that your volunteers will fill out, and that’s going to include an integrated full criminal background check. So once the volunteer has passed the background check and has been approved, you at the district as a district volunteer coordinator will be able to disseminate information about upcoming volunteer events, solicit volunteers for specific events, and on the day of each event, each volunteer will be logged at the front office and their hours will be easily tallied for an individual event, or over an entire school year. You’re going to be able to run reports on all volunteer activity. This is an excellent way to measure parent engagement at one school or across all the schools in your district.
So finally, we have Emergency Management. Raptor’s Emergency Management solution allows you to prepare for, respond to and recover from various incidents. We do this through drill management, active incident response, and parent/student reunification. So touching first on drill management, drill management is a web-based portal that’s going to allow you to communicate your district’s custom drill requirements to each school, so they know which drills they need to run and how often. Using Raptor, you’ll have access to a drill manager dashboard that’s going to give you real-time insights into drill compliance for every drill in every school in your district. Reminders can be sent out automatically to notify both the folks at the district level and at each school of any unplanned or overdue drills. So when a school runs a drill using Raptor’s mobile application, which I’ll touch on in a minute, the drill’s completion is automatically relayed to the cloud and drill management dashboard is updated.
So now getting into active incident response. So when it comes time to run a drill, your schools will actually leverage Raptor’s mobile application and they will then have access to all the emergency plans, facility maps, and also they’re going to sync the class rosters down from your SIS so that your teachers and staff members can use the Raptor app to instantly account for themselves and all the students in each classroom of your school. This is especially valuable during a lockdown situation where you will now have complete visibility into the status and location of every individual in that school.
So if you were to actually have any type of crisis or incident, you can initiate an incident using the Raptor app that will notify all of your teachers and staff that an emergency is taking place. They will immediately be able to take account of themselves and their students, giving administrators and first responders real-time visibility into the status and location of everyone in your school, so they will know who’s accounted for, missing, absent, injured, and where in the school they are. And since Raptor is an integrated platform, you’re going to have access to account for not only your students and staff, but also your visitors, your volunteers and your contractors that signed in through Raptor at the Visitor Management system.
So the final piece of Raptor’s Emergency Management system is reunification. So once that emergency is over, Raptor can help facilitate a parent/student reunification at either the school or an offsite reunification site. We’ve actually partnered with the “I Love U Guys” Foundation to develop a digital solution for unification in line with their standard reunification method, which is the best practice in reunification protocols. So Raptor allows you to quickly reunite students with their legal guardians and create a traceable digital log of every unification. In fact, we’ve actually done this head to head against traditional pen and paper methods, and we were able to reunify twice as many students and guardians in half the time. So that is to say that using our Emergency Management mobile application, Raptor is four times faster than pen and paper-based reunification.
So keep using this opportunity to type in a couple of questions, either for Garret or myself. I’ve just got one more slide. We’re going to quickly go over the pricing for each one of these products. So first we have Visitor Management. It’s going to have a startup cost initially of around $1,900 per school, and then after that each site, starting in year two, is going to be around $600 per school. Volunteer Management, the software for Volunteer Management is actually going to be included in your purchase of Visitor Management, so everything that I talked about earlier in terms of being able to have those digital applications, approve your volunteers, disseminate information about them, run reports on their hours, that’s all included in Visitor Management. There would be an additional cost if you choose to use Raptor for its integrated full criminal background checks. These are much more in-depth checks that you typically do once a year on all the volunteers that are going to be working at your district or in your school.
Moving on to Emergency Management, the startup cost is really going to vary based on whether you’re a smaller school or a larger district, so you’ll just have to contact a Raptor representative for pricing on that. But the renewal cost is only going to be about $800 per school if that’s bundled with Visitor Management. So the renewal cost for the entire platform starting in year two is only $1,300 per school. And with that, we’re going to move into the Q&A section of our webinar.
Thank you so much, Edward. We’ll now move into Q&A, and we do have several questions from the audience. If we do not get to your question today, we will certainly follow up with you afterwards to make sure that your question is answered. The first one I just want to address here personally. I did get a question from [Aaron 00:47:25] that says, will this PowerPoint be sent to us? So after today’s webinar, you will indeed receive an email that has a recording so you can review that after today’s presentation. With that, the next question for us today will go to Edward. Edward, this question is from Michael. He wants to know, does Raptor integrate with SIS systems?
Yes, absolutely, Shannon. We have a direct integration with PowerSchool, and then we’re also able to integrate with every other SIS out there through our partnership with Clever.
Great, thank you so much, Edward. And Garret, we have a question coming in from Cynthia. Her question is, what role do magnetometers play in school safety?
Well, Cynthia, that’s actually a very good question. As you saw in the PowerPoint slides or in the presentation, we really didn’t talk much about the whole metal detector magnetometer kind of protection. One of the cautions that I often see and I’m sure a lot of us see is when we look at school safety, we can fixate on one solution to solve everything, when it’s really a tapestry of items that really need to be addressed to help enhance school safety and school security.
So when we see bad events taking place, wherever they are around the world or in the United States, the first sometimes we hear from parents and others is that, “Well, if they just had metal detectors in the school, that problem would go away.” Well, metal detectors and magnetometers have a role in school safety, but I think it’s best for us to sort of think about who’s going to run them, and what kinds of assaults and incidents and attacks have we seen?
An example we might give is we thought about the old Wild West, and the town had no carrying guns in town, because when the cowboys got there and went into town, they got all liquored up, things would go badly. So what did the sheriff do? The sheriff would go out on the edge of town, and he would collect up all the firearms from the people to make sure it was safe, and it was intended there, that they didn’t necessarily intend to come into the town and shoot it all up. They were just bringing their weapons in and if they were handy, then bad things could happen.
But if they really were coming in to attack the town, did they stop at the little checkpoint out front, or did they just ride on by? Well, that’s what they would do, and that’s similarly, unfortunately, what we’re seeing in the school settings. If we’re looking at even the ones at Parkland and we think of the one up in the New England states, the one at Sandy Hook not too long ago, the person just did a blitzkrieg forced attack. If there was a magnetometer sitting there at that front door, that wouldn’t have stopped that attack.
The magnetometers are particularly useful in school districts where maybe the crime issue in that school district is more exorbitant than other places, and people are bringing weapons in as an artifact of crime, because I’m engaged in drug dealing or because this place is so dangerous I’m going to bring knives in. I’m not bringing it in intentionally today to shoot someone or stab someone, but I just need it handy just in case I might need to, very similar to the cowboy analogy.
So, we can use magnetometers in that setting, but who’s using them? What are we trying to keep out? We’re trying to keep guns and knives out primarily, right? But if we just grab our staff and say, “Okay, here’s a wand,” and go out there and wand people, what happens when our teacher or our administrators wands someone and they do have a gun and a knife, and they’re not all that cooperative about giving it up? Aren’t the people who are standing there running the magnetometers, don’t they need to have the weapons that are equal or comparable or able to exceed that of the weapons that people may bring in?
So to have magnetometers, you really need to have armed, trained people there running the magnetometers, so that in case firearms or knives are taken and the person decides to resist the removal of those weapons, there’s someone there who has the tools and training available to deal with the issue. So I don’t know, Cynthia, if that answers your question or not, but I hope so.
Thank you so much, Garret. Next question is for Edward. Edward, Dr. Matthews would like to know, with Raptor Emergency Management solution will he have access to emergency plans, facility maps and school safety checklists?
Yes, absolutely. That’s a great question. So during any type of drill or live incident, each of your teachers and staff members is going to be able to log into the Emergency Management application on their smart phone, and then they’ll have access to emergency plans, facility maps, checklists. Whatever other digitized files that you need, you can have access to and have all your staff and teachers have access to as well.
Thank you, Edward. And Garret, we have a question here from Brenda. Her question is, what are the benefits of a closed-circuit TV system?
Very good question, Brenda. Back again to the original, the question we just mentioned a few moments ago, often we think that one tactic or protective measure is going to solve all problems. Closed-circuit television systems have a particular value, but practically often their value is in post-incident, or during incident. There’s some exceptions on how that can be mitigated to make them more protective, but when people see signage and see that there are cameras around, for most folks who might be tempted to engage in inappropriate behavior, the camera helps prevent them from doing so. It protects the area, because people know that they can be identified.
Normal criminals, they don’t want to be identified. They want to be able to commit their crime and get away, right? But if the police can identify me and locate me, well then I’m going to get arrested, so cameras are very effective in that, so it has a very strong preventative piece. It also helps people understand who maybe started the fight in the cafeteria. Likewise, they can be also useful in an intruder event, as long as there are opportunities for either the school police or the administration or the police themselves to be able to see real-time live monitoring.
The Parkland was a terrible example of how that was flawed. Their system only showed them historical information. They couldn’t look at real-time monitoring, so the police, people looking at it, thought what they were seeing was real, but it was really Memorex. It created just a horrific problem. But what if we were able to have some real-time monitoring? What if we were able to hire some maybe senior citizen kind of folks, school monitor kind of folks, to spend a little bit of time, two, three, four hours every day, just to sit and monitor the cameras? We don’t necessarily need a trained law enforcement officer to sit there to look at the cameras, but we could have some folks, think of hall monitors, but now instead of walking the halls, their role would be to look at the cameras. Those are some of the values I think we can glean from a closed-circuit television system.
Thank you, Garret. And question for Edward, Mr. Thomas would like to know what types of IDs can be scanned with the Raptor Visitor Management system?
That’s a great question, Shannon. So generally driver’s licenses, ID cards, passport cards, military IDs and even consular cards. Typically as long as it has a 2D bar code on the back and a photo somewhere on it, we’re going to be able to pull in that information and associate the photo of the individual with their visitor profile in Raptor.
Thank you, Edward. And last question here, this one is also for Edward. Our district currently uses the Raptor Visitor Management system, and this person is wondering if they also implemented Raptor Emergency Management, would they know exactly who was in the building at the time of an incident?
Hey, Shannon, yeah, absolutely that would be the case. So during any type of incident, each staff member is going to be able to pull up their smart phone, look at their roster, take account of themselves and all their students. But they’re also going to have access to every visitor, volunteer and contractor that’s currently logged into the building through the Visitor Management system. So yes, absolutely, is the answer.
Great, thank you, Edward. Thank you so much, Garret Rain, for joining us today. Contact information for both Raptor and Garret will be on the screen shortly. We do have several webinars coming up in our Raptor school safety webinar series, so to see this and other upcoming webinars please visit RaptorTech.com/Register. Also, again you will receive an email survey shortly. If you could please give us your feedback, we would greatly appreciate it so we can take your input into account as we plan for additional webinar topics, and we want to ensure that those are topics that you are most interested in. This does conclude our broadcast today. Thank you so much for joining us, and we do hope to see you on the next webinar. Have a great day.