Ensuring the safety of schools and other educational institutions

part 2, supplement to the previously published draft comprehensive system for ensuring the security of educational institutions against criminal and terrorist threats

 Ensuring the safety of schools, other educational institutions and places with a mass stay of children, part 2

Ensuring the safety of schools and other educational institutions,  part 2, supplement to the previously published draft comprehensive system for ensuring the security of educational institutions against criminal and terrorist threats

Additional measures to ensure the safety of schools and other educational institutions, as well as places with a mass stay of children.
This publication is a supplement to a previously published article on ensuring the safety of schools and other educational institutions. The reason for writing the supplement was the tragic events that occurred on May 11, 2021 in the city of Kazan, Russia. On this day, a 19-year-old criminal, Ilnaz Galyaviev, armed with firearms and improvised explosive devices, attacked a city school (the killer himself, a few years before the attack, studied at this school). As a result of this attack, 9 people were killed, another 18 were injured of varying severity, the offender himself voluntarily surrendered to the police officers who arrived at the scene.
Consider the chronology of events, according to materials taken from the official media, the events developed as follows (Moscow time is indicated everywhere - UTC + 03:00):
- (the exact time is unknown, approximately 09 hours 15 minutes) the offender moves along the street to the central entrance to the school, in his hands a gun, he does not hide, people go towards him, cars pass by. This was recorded by surveillance cameras, there were no reports of an armed man moving in the direction of the school to the police;
- 09 hours 18 minutes, the first report of shots on the school premises is received on the police phone, at which point the offender was still in the schoolyard and fired at the windows;
- 09 hours 19 minutes, the offender enters the school building, in the hall he sees an employee of the school maintenance staff and shoots him, the employee is injured. At this moment, the offender sets off an improvised explosive device, an explosion occurs;
- 09 hours 20 minutes, the offender moves around the school building and conducts indiscriminate shooting, he looks for open classes and other premises, kills everyone who went to the sounds of shots, he managed to find several open classes where they were inhumanely and brutally shot children and teachers;
- 09 hours 33 minutes, the first police patrol arrives at the school, the offender himself goes to a meeting with the police and surrenders.
This tragedy once again clearly demonstrated the complete defencelessness of educational institutions and other places with a mass stay of children, before criminals and terrorists. The perpetrator exploited the vulnerabilities in school security that I previously wrote about in this article, where I outlined my project to create a comprehensive, multilevel security system for schools and other institutions with a mass stay of children from threats of a criminal and terrorist nature.
Let me briefly remind you: the concept I propose is based on a system of 3 security lines: 2 external and 1 internal. Each line ensures the fulfillment of a wide range of tasks to identify and neutralize both explicit and hidden threats, criminal or terrorist in nature. Frontiers are elements of a unified security system, but if necessary, they can act autonomously, or in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies.
I propose to consider the situation on the example of the tragedy in Kazan:

1. Safety lines No. 1 and 2 (external):
Judging by the video, the criminal calmly walked along a busy street, along the highway with weapons in his hands, while he did not hide his intentions. He was seen by pedestrians and drivers passing by cars. No one stopped the criminal, no one called the police. According to studies conducted by journalists, the path from the criminal's house to the school is about 400 meters, passes through busy places, central streets, courtyards of residential buildings, public institutions. The time in the killer's journey to the crime scene was about 5 minutes.
If, on these lines, there were employees of units provided for by the integrated security system for schools and other educational institutions, in this case, with a high probability, the offender would be neutralized even on the way to the school building. This could occur when a criminal collides with the Operational Response Company patrol of 2 security lines, whose task is to patrol territories located near schools and other children's institutions. In this area of such institutions 2, in addition to the school, there is also a children's preschool nearby, therefore, when distributing patrol routes, this area would receive priority status. Even if the offender had not been seen by the patrol of the 2nd security line, he would have been seen with a high degree (almost 100%) of probability by the employees of the 1st security line, given the time (morning, the very beginning of the school day) and the route, let me remind you that the offender was moving along the highway. After noticing the suspect, officers of the 1st security line would immediately transmit information about him, employees of the 2nd and 3rd security lines. In this case, the officer of the 3rd line immediately took measures to block the access of the offender to the school, and the officers of the 2nd line, measures to detain him and neutralize the threat.

2. Safety limit No. 3 (internal):
According to the chronology of events and the data of the preliminary investigation, the school did not have a security post, the criminal easily opened the closed front door (made of glass and plastic) with the help of an improvised explosive device, an unarmed employee of the economic part of the school, who tried to stop the criminal, he cold-blooded shot with a gun. After that, for 10 minutes, the offender freely moved around the school premises, shooting at everyone he managed to find and using explosive devices with striking elements.
If, at this line, there were employees of units provided for by a comprehensive security system for schools and other educational institutions, in this case, with a high probability, having received information from employees of lines 1 and 2, or seeing an approaching criminal through video surveillance cameras (they were at school), a specialist security officer would activate an emergency safety protocol, turn on the alarm, and then use special deterrents (including technical means of restricting access to the premises), as well as weapons and means of active defense, detained the offender, or created conditions under which the killer would not have time to enter the school premises before the arrival of the operational response forces.

Similarly, as in the case of the mass execution in the city of Kerch, in October 2018, the offender used the same vulnerabilities in the security system of schools and other educational institutions. Although it will be more accurate to say that there is simply no such system in Russia, the tragic experience of Kerch, Moscow, Ivanteevka, Perm, Ulan-Ude and Sterlitamak did not teach anything, after which many high-profile statements were made, but absolutely nothing was done in practice.
In both cases, the offender left, unhindered, with weapons and explosive devices reached the educational institution, freely got inside and, without meeting resistance, committed a massacre. However, not in the first, not in the second case he was not stopped by the police. In Kerch, the criminal committed suicide, in Kazan he went to a meeting with the police and surrendered.
Based on the analysis of these two tragedies, as well as several other similar crimes, including those committed in other countries, to the «Project for an Integrated School Safety System and Other Institutions with a Mass Presence of Children,» I would like to add several additional measures, the use of which would significantly improve the level of security of educational institutions.

1. Direct access of police to the systems of video surveillance of schools
We will simulate a similar situation on the example of Kerch and Kazan. The message about firing in the territory of school comes to a control room of police, the control room of protection confirms that from this school the alarm signal is received. On the scene, patrols of police, arrival time are directed to the scene - 3 minutes. But that they know? Only the fact that in the territory of school, something occurs, but that: massacre, taking of hostages, act of terrorism? In what part of school? On what floor? In what office? How many criminals? What are they armed with? What level of threat? It is only the minimum list of questions, answers to which the person on duty has to receive within these three minutes so far, patrols reach the scene. Only in the presence of such information the reaction will be effective if before arrival into place patrolmen already know at least a short picture of the events where it to move indoors (and schools, it as a rule buildings to 3-4 floors, big by area, several cases, with a large number of internal rooms). Each minute which is in vain spent by police officers, is the additional victims among pupils and the staff of school. How in 3 minutes to obtain a maximum of exact and useful information? It can be done in only one way, having provided police technical capability of remote access to the systems of video surveillance of schools and other organizations with mass stay of children. Having received an alarm signal, the employee of a control room of police has to have an opportunity immediately, from the workplace, receive complete control over the system of video surveillance of school from which the alarm signal is received. If to add this system with several more technical capabilities, it could increase its effectiveness. For example, integration of cameras with a building 3D model, or at least its electronic scheme what the location of each camera would be displayed on the scheme at once and the person on duty having found an event necessary to it on the monitor, I could understand where exactly in the building it occurs. It will allow within 1-2 minutes more objective and detailed information about the events which the person on duty can quickly transfer to the patrols moving to the scene and also exercise visual inspection of a situation, adjusting actions of patrolmen taking into account changes of a situation in real time.

2. Direct access of police to intercom systems of schools
According to stories by eyewitnesses of the tragedy in Kazan, teachers and pupils at evacuation from the schoolhouse coordinated the actions through chats in messengers. Such scheme of communication especially in a similar situation can be dangerous, the criminal can consist in such chat (the majority of assaults on schools is committed by their pupils), can use the mobile device of one of the victims, to thereby obtain information on places of the shelter of the possible victims and ways of their evacuation, or that it is even more terrible to start false information trapping the victims. For minimizing of similar risks, it is necessary to provide all schools with the system of internal, telephone communication (at many schools such system already is, in each class there is a telephone set of internal communication), this communication system has to have only one protected external connection, to a control room of police.

3. Existence in classes and service premises of additional doors lattices of sliding type
These doors are necessary only for use in emergency situations, in the rest of the time they can be in the put state. Installation of such doors allows to provide reliable restriction of an entrance to the room without the need for use of massive all-metal doors. At schools and others educational institutions, as a rule are used rather simple and unreliable wooden or plastic doors, often also equipped with inserts from glass or transparent plastic. For armed fire or cold (for example, the axe) weapon such door is not an obstacle. But if besides a usual door to establish also the sliding trellised door consisting though from lungs, but enough the strong metal links forming the close-meshed metal gauze, then this design will carry out the main task – will provide reliable protection of access to the room, in the established period of time. On cracking such design to the criminal, even in the presence of tools not less than 10 minutes are required. There will be enough this time or for arrival of forces of police and detention of the criminal, or evacuation of children and personnel through windows. Similar doors are necessary also on the central and spare inputs and outputs to the schoolhouse.

4. Unique Alarm Action Protocol
For each school, a unique safety protocol should be developed, which should contain a list of mandatory actions of each school employee on the alarm signal. The document should be developed by law enforcement specialists, taking into account the characteristics of each school. Each class, each office in the school must be examined by security specialists. Based on this survey, a «Security Zone» should be defined in each room, the boundaries of this zone, the layout of children and teachers in it, as well as other features should be included in this protocol. After approval of the protocol, it should receive the label "For official use" and be stored in a specialized police unit. All staff of the educational institution should know, and most importantly understand, that the content of this document is closed information that is not subject to disclosure. Exercises and training on the practical skills of school staff on actions when receiving the Alarm signal should be carried out without students, only school staff and law enforcement and operational personnel. This is necessary, because most massacres in educational institutions are committed by their students and, as practice shows, they are carefully prepared for crimes, so their knowledge of the protocol of action on the alarm signal will allow them to adjust the tactics of the crime in such a way as to cause maximum damage.

5. Availability of additional emergency evacuation facilities in classes
Among the victims of the tragedy in Kazan were children who were seriously injured when falling from a height, this happened when they tried to leave the school through the windows of 2, 3 and 4 floors. This could be avoided if the classes had emergency evacuation facilities, even the simplest ones, such as rope ladders. These devices must be fixed, fixed to standard fasteners and located in close proximity to the window sills, so that if necessary they can be quickly deployed and immediately used. Practical classes on the use of these tools can be conducted at physical education lessons, life safety classes and exercises and training sessions where fire response skills are practiced.

These measures will be most effective if they are applied as part of the implementation of the «Comprehensive Safety System for Educational Organizations and Other Institutions with a Mass Stay of Children from Threats of a Terrorist and Criminal Nature» described in the first part of this work.

date of publication - on July 14, 2020
author Grishin Roman, Russian Federation
photo taken from the site Interfax

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