Badges of honor, badges of merit, employee badges, and visitor badges. I’ve seen them all. These badges come in all shapes and sizes, which is good.
School shootings will never cease. It is a fact of life: a bad fact, but a fact nonetheless.
I want to make something obvious. I believe that the likelihood that you will be involved in an active shooter event is slim. But if it does happen, it will be devastating so let’s make the possibility even less.
The good news is that you can lower your odds of dying with a few simple steps. One of those steps is the Badge.
I spend a lot of time assessing schools for active shooter threats. Typically, the tech and target hardening measures are in place. The big hole is the humans inside the school. And the biggest one is the enforcement of badges.
Today, I want to focus on the visitor badge. It’s the one badge that matters on so many levels. Just think about trying to walk into any corporation. Before you get past their front desk, you must sign in and receive a visitor badge. For what? To protect some secret soda formula or some clothing design? At schools, we have something so much more important. Children. That’s a real treasure – precious cargo, so to speak.
If you work at a school you must realize at some point; there is only one thing that an active shooter wants – to kill. They aren’t there for the money, not the books, not the computers, or some other material object. They are there to take lives without fear of losing their own. No amount of your negotiation skills are going to change that. Once their foot hits your ground, the battle is on. And it starts at your front door.
This is one area where schools fall. They don’t make their visitor badges unique. They buy the off-the-shelf visitor badge with the big apple on it. Guess what I can buy those also. And that allows me on your campus in a matter of seconds without a second look.
By making a visitor stop, sign-in and get a badge they get verified. This is your opportunity to check ID’s, check purses, bags, and people for weapons, let people know they are on campus, send an escort, etc. It let’s other staff know that they are not a threat.
With a unique and verified badge, other staff can spot them from 50 feet away. This also lets them know that someone that does not have a badge needs to be stopped and sent back to the office.
One thing that can add to the badge is the location or placement of the badge on the body. This shows that they got the badge and put it on thru the verification process. If someone is tricking the system, then it will tip you off, and you can then slip out and call security.
Pick a spot that is unique to your site and make everyone put it on in the same location.
If you have to check in, pass the screening process, and put on a badge, then you are unique. You belong on campus. You went thru the gauntlet.
You must recapture the badge before the visitor leaves. This prevents duplication, re-entry, etc. No going back to the car. No leaving campus and returning. Think of it like airport security.