Hardening measures in Michigan and investing in safer schools

Hardening measures in Michigan and investing in safer schools

August 26, 20192 min read

In Michigan, the government is investing $48 million dollars in upgrades at Fruitport High School that will see hallways now curved to reduce a shooter’s line of site, barriers for cover and classrooms that can hide students easily with doors that instantly lock.

It’s all part of a concept called “target hardening” which involves strengthening of security measures and other school practices to provide a safer environment for students.

John Carlson, professor in the school of psychology, Michigan State University, and his research team recently put together a school safety website as they work in the year ahead to better understand the psychological and physical effects of hardening practices in schools on students, teachers and parents.  

Bonds used to build new schools provide a funding mechanism to engage in target hardening of buildings including design changes, entry/exit systems, locks, video cameras and bulletproof windows, Carlson said.

“Best practices in school safety requires a comprehensive approach to prevention, which includes the need to focus on the people in that building,” he said. “As a society, are we willing to embrace the full body of research behind what we know improves school safety?  Are we willing to make that investment? Unfortunately, as evidenced by the Sandy Hook tragedy, secured entry ways with state-of-the-art lock systems can be breached. Given the way we fund school safety initiatives, the fortification we have done over the years to our government buildings and airports is likely to become the new reality within our schools.”

If you are a reporter covering the ‘hardening’ of America’s schools – let our experts help with your stories and questions.

John Carlson is a professor of school psychology. He is a Health Service Psychologist (HSP) and Licensed Psychologist (MI). His research interests include examining the utility of medical and psychological interventions on school-aged children's behavior in educational and other learning contexts.

John is available to speak with media regarding this topic – simply contact him at carlsoj@msu.edu to arrange an interview today.

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