In a move that signals a national precedent, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) is mandating that all public and open-enrollment charter schools install entry-resistant security films on ground level windows, doors and glass entranceways. The $400 million initiative is an amendment to 19 TAC (Texas Administrative Code) Chapter 61, §61.1031 School Safety Requirements. Contractors for the work must be secured by August 2023.
Active shooter events took a dramatic upturn in 2020 over the previous six years, a trend that has continued into 2023. Schools, healthcare facilities and all building operators will be required to anticipate this evolving and deteriorating security threat-scape
In a study commissioned by Campus Safety, 43% of school and healthcare safety professionals surveyed believe glass doors and windows are the systems most likely to fail in the event of an unauthorized intrusion.
While building owners will need to adopt a multiplicity of approaches and create layers of security, unprotected windows present a specific vulnerability. Windows constitute the weakest link in a building’s perimeter and are one of the most difficult areas to secure.
In a study commissioned by Campus Safety, 43% of school and healthcare safety professionals surveyed believe glass doors and windows are the event of an unauthorized intrusion. 71% of respondents were not confident that law enforcement would arrive in the event of an active shooter situation before a glass entranceway was breached by an attacker.
Fully 90% of American schools were built before 1984. Together, these studies highlight the vulnerability of windows, doors and glazing and the need for cost effective window security solutions that can be readily implemented on existing glass as a retrofit. The challenge is to retrofit the built-form for the current security environment. School districts and security professionals must strike a difficult balance between prioritization (which schools and what areas of the school to protect), budget availability, time to implement and efficacy (which products and what approaches work best).
Use of window security laminates
It is difficult to develop broad policy decisions by analyzing any one incident. However, researchers at the University of Texas analyzing FBI data on mass shooting events have found that while data on police response times is incomplete, average law enforcement response time appeared to be approximately 3 minutes, with roughly 2/3rd of active shooter attacks being over before police arrive. There seems to be a correlation between longer event times and the number of victims, casualties and fatalities.
This seems to suggest that introduction of obstacles and barriers such as locked doors and windows can be effective means of delaying an attacker. Analysis of footage from actual active shooter events have shown that attackers are unlikely to spend significant time trying to get through a particular door or window if it is locked or blocked.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. General Services Administration has concluded that applications of properly installed window security laminates can provide resistance to forced entry. By creating a delay and / or interrupting the trajectory of an attack, windows reinforced with a window security laminate can provide time for building occupants to move to safety and give law enforcement additional time – even brief – to respond to an emergency.
ACE security laminates
ACE 300 Series SL14 security laminates are designed primarily as a security retrofit solution for existing windows and doors. Our 300 Series SL14 security laminates are based on a three-ply construction with a total thickness of 14/1,000th of an inch and provide 350 psi break strength when mounted on standard ¼” glass which is approximately 50% greater than that of industry standard 8mil safety films.
Designed for institutional and commercial settings, ACE security laminates are optically clear, backed by a lifetime warranty against manufacturers’ defect and treated with a durable acrylic finish which will resist standard institutional cleaning cycles. Testing has been conducted to recognized standards such as UL-S332, ASTM-E84, ANSI Z97.1 and CPSC 16 CFR Part 1201, Cat. I and II. Verifiable copies of these tests are provided to all clients upon request.
 Source: (DHS: Primer to Design Safe Schools Projects in Case of Terrorist Attacks and School Shootings – FEMA-428 / BIPS-07 / January 2012, Edition 2)
 Source: Active Shooter Incidents in the United States, 2021. US Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigations.
 Source: 2022 Campus Safety Window Security and Safety Survey
 Source: National Center for Education Statistics.
 Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, University of Texas.
 National Institute of Building Sciences and General Services Administration.