OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Police, school security in Newtown, Conn., are examining witness statements, pictures, and evidence from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last Thursday. An Overland Park, Kan., school design expert said their findings could bring new school security systems and procedures.
Brian Foxworthy is president of Incite Design Studios in Overland Park. A major portion of his business is designing and remodeling schools to increase safety. Foxworthy said he has already received calls from small, rural schools in Kansas and Missouri to modify entrances to increase safety.
“After Columbine, most of the large school districts made changes to limit access to schools; now Sandy Hook is prompting smaller districts to do the same thing,” said Foxworthy.
News reports indicated that the Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza, was not permitted into the school. Newtown Police said Lanza forced his way into the building by shooting.
“From what I’ve heard, it sounds like the system they (Sandy Hook) had in place was right; it’s what everybody was doing,” Foxworthy added. “He (Adam Lanza) didn’t walk right in that door, he took some time and fired shots to get through that front door which I believe took time and I believe that saved some lives.”
Foxworthy said that building code requires shatterproof glass something he suspects could change.
“Maybe we need to think about having bullet-proof glass or bullet resistance or something to slow them down,” he explained.
Foxworthy added that panic buttons, and video surveillance systems are state of the art and might be added to all classrooms and common areas in schools in the future.
The design expert said it’s important to keep natural light and open areas for a positive educational environment. He said tough decisions will have to be made on how to improve school design to improve safety without making the school like a prison.
“But being able to absolutely stop someone with an automatic weapon from getting in the building and hurting children will be difficult,” Foxworthy concluded.
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