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Editor's Focus: The Cost of Security

Feb. 1, 2014
Wouldn’t it be nice if even a small percentage of what was spent to provide security for the Super Bowl was invested in our schools and colleges to bolster their security preparedness?

Few things garner as much attention and media scrutiny as the Super Bowl (except maybe the commercials aired during the football game). The two weeks leading up to the annual event are a whirlwind of activity, and very few of us can escape the media bombardment.

This year, the abundance of security measures in place for the event received about as much attention as the game itself. From the new security and detection technologies being used, to the aircraft patrolling the area, to the thousands of extra security personnel and screeners hired and specially trained for the event—virtually no expense was spared. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if even a small percentage of what was spent to provide security for this once-a-year event was invested in our schools and colleges to bolster their security preparedness?

Overall, education institutions have done a good job of providing safe and secure environments for students and staff. But as any administrator will tell you, there is never enough funding to do all that should be done. 

Schools and universities have implemented a variety of safety and security measures as budget allows. Police officers on campus, security cameras, access-control systems, fencing, visitor-identification programs, emergency-alert systems and more are part of many institutions’ security-preparedness plans. 

But most institutions also incorporate additional tools as part of their security efforts that are not as funding-dependent. Anti-bullying, anti-drug and zero-tolerance programs are among the more common. In addition, more effort has been made to create welcoming environments for students; building closer relationships to help staff identify those that may have problems that could escalate, and providing counselling and guidance to those that can use help.

In general, however, any upgrade to building or campus security comes with a cost. Federal grants from the Justice and Homeland Security departments have helped schools and universities train staff to respond to threats and emergencies. Many states also offer funding opportunities to improve security and safety. 

While the extent of the resources provided to secure events such as this month’s Super Bowl will never be available to schools and universities, administrators must continue to do everything within their means to provide students and staff safe and secure environments.

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