DOE posts school security handbook online

DOE posts school security handbook online

By Tony Lee Orr

GCN Staff

The U.S. Energy Department has posted online a school security handbook that would seem to respond to the 'I never thought it could happen here' refrain.

The Appropriate and Effective Use of Security Technologies in U.S. Schools, written by a security specialist at the Energy Department's Sandia National Laboratories, sells itself as a 'practical guide for school officials.' The guidebook is a joint enterprise of Sandia, and the Justice, Energy and Education departments.

The book can be downloaded at in Adobe Portal Document, Hypertext Markup Language and ASCII formats.

Mary Green, a scientist at Sandia National Laboratories, wrote a handbook on use of security technologies in schools.

The handbook's findings are based on a seven-year Sandia study of more than 100 schools, Energy officials said. It delves into security and operational issues, as well as video surveillance, weapon detection devices, entry codes and duress alarms.

Schools need the same security information resources that Sandia provides Energy, the Defense Department and other government agencies, said Mary Green, the guidebook's author. 'There is a huge void of knowledge about technology in the school system,' she said.

The information lets local school officials choose what is best for their region.

'School technology can be tailored to meet the needs of an individual school,' Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said. 'We're putting the handbook on the Web in an effort to reach the widest possible audience, because this handbook puts proven techniques for combating school security problems in the hands of administrators, school boards and others who are facing decisions about school safety investments.'

The book may not prevent another shooting, such as last year's Columbine High School massacre, Green said, but it could help lessen the scope of an attack.

For everyone

On an Energy Department Web site at
, anyone interested in school security can access information about making campuses safe.

'Any government office can use this information,' Green said. 'This is stuff that nowadays everyone should have access to.'

Security strategies in the book include giving administrators the ability to lock down parts of a facility if necessary and control entry to the school campus.

The book stresses the importance of having a prearranged plan should a security problem arise, along with knowing whom to call and exactly what to do.

The handbook could prove popular as more schools across the country are turning to high-resolution cameras, motion detectors, handheld metal detectors and bar coded student identification cards to help keep children safe, DOE officials said.


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