Essentials Magazine Essentials Spring 2018 - Page 7

Campus Safety O n March 14, 2018, students across the United States staged a walkout to voice their objections to the normalcy of gun violence in our schools. Given the staggering statistics, their actions are understandable. According to CNN, there has been an average of one school shooting every single week in 2018. with windowless cell-like classrooms. Others highlight that the generally accepted prioritized order of response — “run, hide, fight” — suggests a more transparent environment so that you can see and react to dangerous situations. Then there are those who like the #NeverAgain movement and the “March for Our Lives” demonstra- tion that took place on March 24. The onslaught of these tragedies has school communities throughout the U.S. evaluating their safety protocols. The obvious goal: to keep our children safe and to minimize the chances that their school will be the next to re- ceive national coverage for a violent, life-ending act. The debate on how to accomplish this rages on. Some say we need to design fortress-like facilities promote the arming of teachers. One thing that should not be debat- ed is the value of human life and that the primary function of our schools is to educate our children. Safety and security in learning environments is a complex issue and while we do not profess to have all of the answers, here we hope to provide rational and justifi- able safety measures that can support educational missions and prevent or mitigate threats. Research on ideal learning spaces An ongoing Washington Post analysis finds that more than 150,000 primary and secondary school students have experienced a campus shooting since the massacre at Columbine High School. The numbers continue to rise and have ignited student-led campaigns calls for agility, student choice and collaborative environments where students and teachers easily move be- tween classrooms and a variety of other flexible spaces. In these environments, transparency gives teachers visibility and puts learning on display. We un- derstand that balancing school security with the innovative, future-ready learn- ing environments our kids need is a complex challenge leading many to ask if it even is possible. We believe it is. As design professionals we strive to meet project goals and in the case of schools, the primary mission is to edu- cate. As we work with clients to create safe, future-ready schools, we feel it is important to ask the following: • How do we balance safety with the educational mission? • Do we want our children to feel like they are entering a more institu- tional environment? • Are we ready to look at physical, technical, and procedural alternatives to maintain the educational mission? • Are we willing to review rational essentials | 7