Palm Beach County, Florida – In an ongoing effort to prioritize school safety and security, the Palm Beach County public school district is taking steps to strengthen windows to better protect students and staff members. The school board is set to vote on a multi-million-dollar deal with National Glazing Solutions LLC, a Georgia-based company, to provide “safety and security window film” for schools.
According to school district documents, this agreement represents the latest development in the district’s comprehensive approach to school security. Earlier this school year, metal detectors were introduced at four Palm Beach County high schools. Superintendent Mike Burke emphasized the district’s commitment to constantly enhancing security measures, stating, “We feel like we’re kind of ahead of the curve in Palm Beach County, that we’re constantly trying to add on, again, that next layer of security.”
If approved, the School District of Palm Beach County will allocate no more than $4 million annually from its capital budget to implement the window film. The film will be applied to non-impact windows and provide them with the strength and durability of impact windows. The exact number of schools that will receive the window film and the timeline for installation are not being disclosed for security reasons.
Chief Sarah Mooney of the School District of Palm Beach County’s Police Department explained the importance of the window film, stating, “If you feel safe on the campus, you are probably going to be safer. That’s the whole goal here. To make sure everything is physically safe. But we want everyone to feel safe, also.” The film acts as an additional layer of security, helping to prevent windows from splintering and providing a delay for potential intruders.
The proposed deal with National Glazing Solutions would be in effect from November 16, 2023, to March 31, 2025. James Beale, the co-founder and CEO of National Glazing Solutions, highlighted the significance of time in preventing intruders from accessing schools. The multi-layered security film, in combination with impact protection adhesive, aims to strengthen windows and potentially buy enough time for law enforcement to respond effectively.
Florida law mandates that every K-12 public school in the state must have at least one school resource officer on campus, a requirement implemented after the tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in 2018. Beale emphasized the importance of delaying intruders, stating, “Typically, these perps, time isn’t their friend. They start freaking out when things don’t go their way and they’re being delayed.”
National Glazing Solutions has been involved in numerous security film projects across the country, including in Florida, Georgia, Texas, and California. Beale commended Palm Beach County for its proactive approach to school security, stating, “Kudos to Palm Beach. They’re trying to be proactive and not reactive.”
Despite the additional security measures implemented, Chief Mooney stressed that the most crucial aspect of school security is the people involved. She stated, “The most important piece of our security plan is the people that are involved in it.” According to a survey by Campus Safety magazine, glass doors and windows are considered the security systems most likely to fail during an unauthorized intrusion.
The Palm Beach County School District has been continuously adding layers of security to schools. Metal detectors were introduced at four high schools earlier this year, and Superintendent Burke plans to purchase metal detectors for all 24 high schools, spending $2 million to acquire 63 new devices by the end of the school year. These metal detectors have proven effective in deterring students from bringing unauthorized items onto campus.
Furthermore, every employee in the district now has a panic button on their ID badge, and the district has established single points of entry at every school. Other security measures include increased surveillance cameras, card access door locks, ongoing fencing projects, and funding for guard houses at all high schools.
In their unwavering commitment to ensuring the safety of students and staff, Palm Beach County public schools are taking significant steps to enhance security measures. By strengthening windows with safety and security film, the district aims to provide an additional layer of protection and create a safer environment for everyone on campus.