School Security Standards | Standards Michigan

School Security Standards

The competition among standards developers to meet a national challenge is already quite fierce. We offer a "watchdog" point of view on this action that may enlighten the understanding of local and state educational facility security officials.


School Security Standards

February 13, 2019
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“The Country School” | Winslow Homer

There are now so many standards relevant to risk to educational communities — and so many trade associations competing to set the standard of care —  that legislators have a strong case for developing top-down federal legislation rather than incorporate by reference privately developed standards which are given preferential treatment in Office of Management & Budget Circular A-119.  While far from perfect, the private standards system administered by ANSI’s due process requirements provides access, balance and transparency.  Admittedly, the preference of conformity/compliance/enforcement.risk management interests tend to dominate the discussion — but not always.

A large part of the streaming discussion about school security is driven by the event and continuing education enterprises of non-profit trade associations and insurgent ad-hoc open-source interests that seek to make markets in security products and services.   We limit our interest to the consensus documents that are most likely to set a standard of care that is practical so that government agencies responsible for school security have a privately developed standard of care.   We have the experience of the federal government stepping into the energy conservation space 20-odd years ago as an example of what happens when competition among market participants is too fierce to be efficient.

Our next Security Standards Monthly teleconference is scheduled for February 14th, 11 AM EST.  Open to the public, use the login credentials at the upper right of our home page.

Standards action within some of the more familiar standards suites is linked below.  Please be aware that the ferocity of the action makes it difficult to keep pace.

Active Shooter and/or Hostile Event Response Program

False Alarm Reduction

Door Locking Systems


Guide to Premises Security

ASIS WVPI.1 | Workplace Violence Prevention and Intervention

Incident Handling

School Security Concepts

2021 Life Safety Code


Posted October 1, 2018

This is a timely, subtle and complicated issue for the education industry.   The overwhelming question — upon which good minds will disagree — is this: How much of this can be resolved by the federal government versus resolution at the state, local and institutional level?

Market incumbents (whom we identify in our ABOUT) want to develop regulations at the national level because they have the financial resources to operate in Washington, D.C where so many education industry trade associations are domiciled and have their influence.   In other words, they will seek a politically visible “top-down” solution that they write and administer that may supersede state, local or institutionally developed standards*.

On the other hand, school districts, colleges and universities may prefer local adaptations of regulatory products developed by ANSI accredited standards developers with which their front line subject matter experts in building, fire, electrical and public safety codes are already trained.  Standards developed at this level — and, ideally incorporated by reference by federal agencies, offer the greatest degree of transparency and stakeholder involvement.  Unfortunately, much of the leadership of the education industry is not involved in the US standards community.  (See videoclip below)

Since our business model does not depend upon revenue from membership, publication royalties, conference attendance, continuing education credits for conformity assessment credentials we are relatively free to operate as a watchdog on the standards action of all the incumbents (and newcomers) in this space.

Education facility security standards are a standing item on our weekly Open Door teleconference — every Wednesday 11 AM Eastern time.  We are also hosting a breakout teleconference today, October 16th, 11 AM EDT to walk through the entire sweep of rapidly moving school security standards.  Use the login credentials at the upper right of our home page.

Issue: [Various]

Category: Public Safety, Public Policy

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Richard Robben

S. Joe Bhatia | CEO American National Standards Institute | University of Michigan Ross School of Business | October 2015


* Partial Bibliography:

NIST Public Safety Communications Research Division

Loyola Marymount University Emergency Preparedness Program

Preparing for an Active Shooter Incident Duquesne University

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