School Safety, Security AND Accessibility

March 4, 2024

Many schools across the nation remain inaccessible to students, parents, grandparents, and teachers who have a disability that limits their mobility and ability to open doors on their own. At the same time, many of these schools are confronting the challenge of keeping their students, faculty and administrators safe and secure.

To confront these dual challenges, two organizations exist to help schools address safety, security and accessibility challenges. Members of the American Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers (AAADM) can help schools meet the requirements for accessibility. The Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) provides information and tools needed to secure school environments.

PASS, established in 2014, has developed safety and security guidelines for schools—available for free on their website—based on a tiered approach that recognizes that schools have different requirements and may face resource constraints as well.

"Ever since fire safety codes and regulations have been activated in our schools," says PASS Co-Founder and Board Chair Chuck Wilson, "We've seen zero deaths from fire emergencies. On the other hand, there are no unified codes, standards for school safety and security, and we, sadly, see the results of this too starkly and too often. PASS fills this critical gap."

Bringing together a vast array of industry experts, PASS focuses on educating the educators about school safety and security so that schools can make effective use of proven practices and make bias-free, informed decisions on the best security measures for their school's individual needs.

Those measures, according to PASS, should be proportional to available resources and local risk levels. PASS works with the education, public safety and industry communities to help inform choices that schools make in ensuring the safety and security of all members of the school community. PASS also develops white papers on different topics including a white paper on secure visitor entry.

PASS regularly updates its guidelines, and has been extremely effective in its outreach to policymakers focused on school security. In December 2018, the Federal Commission on School Safety released its recommendations on a wide range of school safety issues, citing the PASS Guidelines and other sources, saying that "a layered approach that incorporates multiple, reinforcing echelons of policy, programs and protective measures" is important.

In the school setting, security and accessibility are not mutually exclusive. Working together, AAADM and PASS can help schools achieve their goal of providing a safe, secure and accessible environment for all stakeholders. Such a collaboration would bring together the expertise to answer the security and accessibility needs of schools throughout the United States.


School Safety, Security AND Accessibility
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