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The Illusion of Safety Within Our Schools

Article Provided By: Kyle Vanden Bosch

When I was young, my mother was religious about locking the doors of our house.  We would hear that lock click, and we were all convinced we were safe.  Realistically, a standard door look does almost nothing to secure a residence, especially a door with glass. Our security in the house was nothing more than an illusion. Fortunately, our house was never broken into.


Likewise, many school districts have put security film on their buildings, assuming any security film will do the job.  We have looked at thousands of schools over the last five years, and over 90% of the schools we have audited have inadequate or improperly installed security film. While very few school will ever have a serious security breech, we find that even fewer are prepared for it.


Many products are offered under the label of security film, some are excellent, but many are nothing more than a waste of money.  As we have audited security film work across the county, we have seen films that are too thin, films that are not attached, or not attached properly. We have seen film used that does not pass UL forced entry testing, or films used that are not specified in the contract.


It is important to choose security film not on price alone, but to consider the performance of the product and the company installing it. There are some very good companies out there, but very many companies are just not qualified for this type of work. Don’t be afraid to ask for references! Schools generally go with the lowest bidder, but that frequently means they are also getting a substandard product and/or installation.


We have tested many products over the last several years, and we now recommend using at least a 14 mil product, and preferably a product greater than 20 mil.  We always recommend an attachment system, preferably a wet glaze with a styrene cap. This product provides the strongest bond, as well as the nicest looking finish.  Without attachment, you are only buying yourself approximately 5-8 seconds.


Recently, in New York, a violent intruder was stopped with security film.  It kept him out of the school until the police could respond.  I am friends with the owner of the company that installed this product.  It was a top of the line product, and was installed correctly. In contrast, a district near me was vandalized and robbed. They had security film that was installed poorly and no attachment was used. It took the teen breaking in less than 7 seconds to get through the glass.


As a result of increasing security problems, more and more schools are adding security film as another layer in their security plan. As your districts consider this increasingly popular security measure, make sure your district is not purchasing an illusion. Make sure you purchase a properly installed, properly tested product for your district.


We would be happy to provide advice, or even take a look at work that has already been done. The children in your district deserve more than an illusion. They deserve actual safety.

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