Students climb a chain link fence to escape shooting threat.

Is there a better way to secure a school?

Students climb a chain link fence to escape shooting threat.
March 21, 2024 Ian Sterne

In March 2024, a video surfaced of students at Taft High School in Woodland Hills struggling to climb a chain link fence to escape the school property after a shooting threat was reported.  The eight foot fence, likely intended to protect the property from access, prevented egress in an emergency.

Clearly, well-designed fencing will play an important role in any security plan which should integrate multiple technologies, barriers, components and strategies.  But was there a better way to protect the property than installing a fence?  Admittedly, we don’t know all the facts but, we think there might be.

Door glazing security is often an overlooked component of school safety.  Most school properties will have locks, camera systems and forms of access control.  But glass panes, windows and side lites remain a commonly overlooked point of vulnerability.   High quality window security laminates such as those from Advanced Coatings Engineering can solve this problem.

Window security laminates as little as 1/10th the cost of fencing

According to Google Maps, the perimeter of Taft HS is 4,866 ft.  At an installed cost of approximately $30 per linear foot, an 8 foot perimeter fence for the property would cost an estimated $146,000.00

A typical medium sized school will have two entrance ways with 4 locking doors and two entranceways with 2 locking doors (generally doors with a push bar lock in the middle of the door).  Using standard glazing metrics for typical door configurations, our team estimates that each main entrance contains approximately 110 ft2 of glass and each side entrance, 50 ft2 of glazing for a total scope of work of approximately 320 ft2.

Using a pricing metric of $40 – $50 per ft2 installed (this is on the higher range of cost estimates), a medium sized school of this configuration could have its entranceways upgraded with a high-grade security laminate for under $15,000.00.

In addition to being discrete and effectively addressing an obvious security vulnerability, use of window security laminates, coupled with high-grade locks and a door locking protocol, would significantly strengthen security and resistance to intruders.  Additionally, problems related to egress would be eliminated.

Again, we don’t know all the facts.  But, for cash-strapped school systems and boards tasked with putting reasonable security measures in place for all properties under their care, window security laminates are an effective, proven and cost effective technology to adopt and will likely become a standard part of school design and security upgrades.

To discuss your school security project, email us at or call 888-607-0000.

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