The Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS), established in 2014, aims to make effective use of proven security practices specific to K-12 school environments and to aid informed decisions on security investments. The organization was created in response to questions from the education community regarding how schools can be better secured. It was led by the National Systems Contractors Association and the Security Industry Association, in partnership with stakeholders united in their interest and effort to ensure that school security investments are spent on the right solutions.
PASS's primary initiative is the Safety and Security Guidelines for K-12 Schools, first released in 2015. These guidelines are considered the most comprehensive information available on best practices specifically for securing school facilities. The sixth edition of these guidelines was released in March 2023, and provides additional crime prevention tactics, tips for staff training, and guidance on creating a crisis preparation plan. They also offer advice on how to increase involvement from key stakeholders such as community members, local law enforcement, parents, school board members, staff, and students. The guidelines encompass specific actions to raise the baseline of security, vetted security practices specific to K-12 environments, reliable information on available safety and security technology, and ways to distinguish effective solutions from unnecessary products.
In terms of future trends in school safety, several key issues were identified for 2023. These include a rise in mental health concerns, greater emphasis on creating a sense of belonging for students, implementation of compliance mandates, increased legislation and funding for school safety, and a rise in cyber threats. Mental health is expected to be a major area of focus, with schools implementing behavioral threat assessments and violence prevention measures. Schools are also working on enhancing the sense of belonging for students, with campus safety offices contributing to recruitment and retention efforts. Compliance mandates are anticipated to be enforced more strictly, with potential consequences for schools not in compliance. Legislation and funding are making a real difference in school safety, with states providing resources that can significantly improve school safety. Cyber threats are also on the rise, necessitating stronger cybersecurity efforts.
It's important to note that while I was able to provide some information on PASS's efforts and the current and future state of school safety, a deeper dive could provide more specific details about PASS's initiatives, such as the specifics of their Safety and Security Guidelines for K-12 Schools, as well as other activities they might be involved in.