System designed to deter school shootings
District 194 is investigating costs and options to pioneer in its schools what is billed as an unparalleled security system designed for multi-layered defense against active shooters.
Created by a new Lakeville company, 3D Systems, the security system district officials are considering includes multiple components designed to deter, distract and delay a potential shooter until police arrive.
Developed by the company’s team of experienced first responders and school personnel, components include a video buzz-in system, anti-intruder glass, suspect color spray, magnetic door locking system and alert stations with the option of remote lock-down activation.
Previously known as Nemesis Defense Systems, 3D Systems also offers incident response training for school staff, students, police, fire and businesses that is said to be based on best practices and current techniques.
Jason Polinski, a local police lieutenant and co-founder and president of 3D Systems, told District 194 School Board members at their Jan. 19 work session that districts can custom design their level of protection and phase in various components over time.
He said 3D security system mimics the layers of protection fire systems have provided schools since 1958 when a school fire in Chicago killed 95 people.
In response to the fire, Polinski said insurance companies and fire departments were determined to make changes, and created the fire code, fire suppression systems, sprinklers and alarms.
“Since that fire, there has not been one death in a school in this nation,” Polinski said.
In contrast, he said 142 school shootings have occurred since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre that killed 20 children and six adults.
The key difference, Polinski said, is found in school buildings that have the multiple layered protection in the case of fire.
A multi-layered approach to school safety helps protect students and staff until first responders to arrive, Polinski said.
He called Lakeville’s new buzz-in security systems “a really good start,” but said it would not stop an issue in the cafeteria like the layered security approach.
Polinski said while Lakeville schools are not dangerous, there have been situations in the past that have concerned officials.
He said shortly after the 9-11 attacks, a high school student was being monitored by the FBI for summer travels to the Middle East.
He said anti-American writings and propaganda were found in his locker.
Efforts were made by the school resource officer to communicate with him in his native language, a relationship with the student was established and potential problems were diverted.
Other potentially dangerous incidents, including death threats, have also happened at the younger school levels, Polinski said.
“There are situations that arise that people just don’t hear about that the SROs and the schools do a fantastic job of taking care of those issues,” Polinski said. “The fear is, what if one of those slips through.”
School Board members directed that Michael Baumann, District 194 executive director of business services, work with 3D Systems installation expert Ken Laine and Wold Architects to develop an options, recommendations and an estimate for installing the system in the district’s 14 schools.
Options include a phased-in plan and lease-to-own.
School Board Member Judy Keliher said one of the most common issues community members raised during levy meetings involved whether the district was asking for enough to address school security.
“I think it’s important that we really seriously consider this,” Keliher said. “Because I think the worst attitude we can have is expecting something not to happen here. No one would ever want it to happen here, but I think we have to be prepared for something.”
Other school districts interested in the program include Princeton Public Schools and several districts in Colorado.
Members of the 3D Response Systems team include Peter Matos, a police officer with 24 years of experience; Linda Swanson, former District 194 communications director, and Tim Miller, a former firefighter and licensed electrician.
Baumann predicted great potential for the new company and its security system.
“I think this is some technology and a system that’s probably going to proliferate broader across the country, and likely beyond school districts,” Baumann said.
SunThis Week By Laura Adelmann, Jan 25, 2016