Building Design: Social & Emotional Learning (SEL)

Building Design: Social & Emotional Learning (SEL)
• Provide students with spaces necessary to facilitate access to resources, such as counselors, social workers, etc.
• Spaces that facilitate healthy social interactions – natural light, views, etc.
• De-escalation spaces
• Small Learning Communities offer the possibility of breaking larger schools down into smaller environments to foster positive relationships and trust between staff and student, as well as amongst the student body.

Resource Links:
Social and Emotional Learning Solutions

Building Design: Technology

Building Design: Technology
• Video Surveillance
• Access Controls
• Gunfire Sensors (ShotSpotter)
• Bullet resistant glazing
• Glass breakage detection
• Mass notification systems
• Intercom systems
• Visitor management systems

Resource Links:
You Better Make These Schools Safe’: As School Starts, Violence Is Top of Mind

Building Design: Classroom Security

Building Design: Classroom Security

Classroom door hardware

  • Always locked or lockable from inside the classroom
  • Consider barricade devices that are approved by the AHJ
  • Minimize glazing to prevent visibility, physical access to the lockset from the corridor side, gaining physical access to the space via glazed openings.
  • Consider protective glazing films or ballistic glazing at classroom entrances.
  • Provide shades to conceal glazed openings
  • Create shelter-in-place areas within the classroom
  • Strategically located opaque walls that allow students to hide outside the line of sight
  • Consider using ancillary classrooms spaces – toilet rooms, small group instruction rooms, storage rooms – as part of shelter in place strategy

Emergency Egress

  • Consider multiple points of egress to allow for escape within the building or to the exterior.

Resource Links:
Architects prioritize design as a school security solution

Building Design: Strategic Building Separation

Building Design: Strategic Building Separation
• Where possible, separate regularly occupied student spaces from “public” spaces (lobbies, commons areas, activities areas) with cross corridor separations.

  • Classrooms wings or pods
  • Can be tied into the access control system for automatic lockdown
  • Interface cross corridor fire separation w/ building access controls
  • Provide separate entrance(s) for public spaces that need to be occupied separately from the remainder of the building.

Resource Links:
Guide for developing high-quality school emergency operations plans: at a glance

Building Design: Secure Entry

Building Design: Secure Entry
• Clearly identifiable
• Restrict public access to building to a single secure entry
• Minimize other entrances and equip egress doors w/ door contacts, position switches, etc. that can send notifications to staff when they are left open.
• Secure entry should require direct interaction with staff member prior to allowing access to office area or remainder of building
• Equip entrance and contiguous office areas w/ access controls/emergency lock-down hardware to prevent/delay intruders from gaining access to the remainder of the building.
• Equip office area w/ multiple secure lockdown “buttons” to enable lockdown.
• Allow for clear sightlines to the exterior and main interior corridors; staff should be strategically located to have consistent access to these sightlines
• If clear sightlines are not possible, supplement w/ video surveillance systems.
• Consider displaying video surveillance capabilities, such that the public recognizes that they are being monitored while on site.
• Provide specific resources in the office area to help dissuade the need to gain access to other parts of the building (public toilet facilities, conference rooms, etc.)
• Consider strategic use of shatter-resistant glazing films and/or ballistic glazing at secure entrance vestibule.
• Remove fire alarm pull stations from secure entry vestibule (may require special permission from the AHJ.
• Lock-down to enable automatic emergency dial-out

Resource Links:
Strategies to enhance security and reduce vandalism

Site Design Best Practices:

Site Design Best Practices:
• Child’s journey begins at home – walking, busing, pick-up/drop-off, mass transit – not necessarily under the control of the designer, but must be considered.
• Appropriate site lighting levels
• Landscaping that does not permit individuals to hide (themselves or other objects)
• Clear lines of sight
• Proper delineation of property (materials, signage, fencing, landscaping, etc.)
• Avoid siting the building in a manner such that allows for dark corners, hiding places, etc.
• Vehicular collision prevention – bollards, berms, etc.

Resource Links:
Strategies to enhance security and reduce vandalism

Policy: Student Policies

Policy: Student Policies
• School level-

  • Working to be inclusive of all others
  • Awareness of security breaches
  • Taking shelter in place
  • Classroom and school evacuations – cooperating with first responders

Resource Links:
School Safety & Crisis

Policy: Student Policies

Policy: Student Policies
• District level-

  • Training staff on the use of physical security measures/systems provided in each school
  • Addressing bullying among staff and students –“Rachel’s Challenge” and “Sandy Hook Promise” programs are examples
  • Training with local law enforcement officials on various disaster scenarios

Resource Links:
Threat Assessment: Predicting and Preventing School Violence


Here’s How To Prevent The Next School Shooting, Experts Say

Policy: School Level Staff Training in ERP Planning and Working with ERP Staff

Policy: School Level Staff Training in ERP Planning and Working with ERP Staff

  • School Districts must remain committed to providing members of the collaborative community and visitors with the safest and most secure environment
  • One of the goals of A4LE is to design policies and regulations to create a safer environment for students, staff, parents and visitors.
  • Should an area of weakness be found during the planning process, modules should be tested and corrective actions developed to ensure familiarity with activation and recovery procedures as well as the testing, training, and exercise needs of school personnel.
  • Test: Confirm whether or not procedures, processes, and systems function as intended
  • Train: Ensure that all personnel know what to do, how to do it, and when it should be done
  • Exercise: provide practice and verification of whether parts of the plan or the entire plan works as intended

Resource Links:
The FBI study: Implications for Campus Safety Professionals


Safe supportive Learning: Environment


Safe supportive Learning: School Climate Measurement

Policy: Emergency Response Planning- District level, School level, Coordination with local county Emergency Planners

• Develop a common operating view across a school district and individual schools to get a range of their threat level concerns
• Ensure the availability to segment crisis responses
• Recognize the productive relationship of mutual trust between public safety agencies and the School Districts
• Community involvement plays a major role in creating response plans, by providing information about threats and hazards in their schools and neighborhoods


NEA Guide aims to help schools respond, recover from crises