M. O. A. T.
A New Approach to School Security
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By Michael Panish
Door, Lock, & Security Equipment
Expert & Consultant
The need to have increased security to public venues such as airports,
schools, religious facilities, day care centers, shopping centers, and
government buildings is nothing new. However, it has become apparent that
many unexpected assaults and deadly attacks are coming from individuals
that have gained a certain level of intimacy with the venues and organizations
that they are invading. The attackers are not necessarily strangers, but
people we know.
Prior to the 2012 Aurora Colorado movie theater shooting, where a crazed
man entered a movie theater and began shooting random people, the level
of security for that location had probably never been considered substandard.
In an entertainment type of environment, theatres are mostly worried about
keeping out people that are trying to view the movie for free. In the
most recent and tragic events that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary
School in Connecticut, the level of security that was in place could not
and did not stop the intruder. From my years of experience providing perimeter
enclosures and security to many public buildings and schools, this abhorrent
act would not have been stopped with the typical door, window and hardware
specified by most school building designs.
Here are a few reasons why security is compromised in schools:
1. Many small towns and some cities attempt to provide a school environment
that is believed to be safe and secure. It is with that premise in mind
that the community will help self-police the surrounding neighborhood.
Many schools, particularly in the elementary grades, encourage active
participation of concerned parents to assist the school administration
in the daily operations of security of that school. This generally takes
the form of parents and school aids working during morning drop off and
afternoon pick up duties to keep the children out of traffic. Often, unpaid
parents participate in patrolling the school grounds and hallways to improve
the overall safety of the school and playground. In most cases, these
unpaid volunteers are utilized because the school district simply does
not have funds to hire workers to provide those services. Well-meaning
PTA organizations often fill this financial void.
2. Most people want to feel as if they are not bringing their children
to a locked penitentiary environment. Although some security is offered
by perimeter fencing and gates, these systems are more for the purposes
of keeping errant balls from the playground from getting into the street
than they are for keeping intruders off of the school grounds. Due to
the fact that most schools are fairly large in size and lack dedicated
security personnel, it is difficult to provide the overall security and
monitored lockdown of a facility during many times of the day.
3. Building codes, ordinances, and life safety issues are also responsible
for the lower level of building security. Most of the life safety codes
dictate that there are minimum requirements for egress from a public building.
Specific hardware, doors, and windows must be used to meet these requirements.
Architectural designs of older and new school buildings do not always
make it easy to integrate an adequate security program without some special
considerations. In many new school buildings, although the overall desire
is probably to provide a safe and secure environment, costs often dictate
the lower quality hardware and door components that are ultimately installed.
In some cases, the desire to create a truly secure and safe environment
for the students becomes derailed by the high costs of the actual requirements
to accomplish this goal.
Security of most public buildings and schools can create a loss of personal
freedom. Parents and students utilizing these facilities are going to
have to relinquish the carefree open environments that were common place
many years ago, and realize that safety and security of the students will
take away that idealized past. There are many proven techniques that can
and must be implemented to provide more appropriate and higher levels
of security for the schools throughout the country.
M.O.A.T. is an acronym created by Michael Panish in December of 2012, in
order to promote a higher level of school security systems and student
safety. In medieval times, a moat was constructed around a castle, fort,
or town, and was typically filled with water as a defense against attack.
Creating a defensive buffer between the outside world and our children
has become necessary. Michael Panish, door, hardware, and security expert
witness, has developed a formulaic method that will be invaluable in developing
needed additional security for our country's school systems.
In very basic terms, the building blocks of Michael Panish's M.O.A.T.
program follow these four main areas of planned defense:
M: More robust doors, windows, locks, hardware, checkpoints, and security systems
O: Observation and monitoring by policy, and overt surveillance equipment systems
A: Administrative plans and procedures
T: Training for staff, students, and parents
It is with these ideas in mind that Mike Panish is offering the following services:
Inspections and analysis of existing site conditions
Consultation and assistance in developing increased safety plans
Creation of Specifications of new Products
Oversight of facility upgrades
General construction and project management
Another article by Michael Panish called
INCREASING SCHOOL SECURITY - Concepts to Keep Our Students Safe, outlines ideas Michael Panish has to help develop safer school environments
for the nation's children.
Michael Panish is a unique and highly qualified expert in the field of
door, lock and hardware security. He has provided and installed products
to hotels, hospitals, restaurants, schools, airports, county and state
office buildings, and commercial buildings such as shopping centers, office
buildings, and most retail venues. Mike has been retained as the consulting
and testifying expert in hundreds of legal cases throughout the United
States. He has participated in testimony and trial in cases involving
invasion, robberies, rape, assault, murder, and security of premises.
He is retained as forensic analyst, expert witness, and consultant for
Plaintiff, Defense, and Cross Defense equally. Mike is available to consult
and assist any organization wishing to develop a safer environment. More
information on Mike Panish and his services can be found at
Copyright Michael Panish 1/06/2013