A fellow traveler once told me I could star in a reality TV show contest on how quickly one could get through a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening at the airport. Perhaps he was correct.
Like many business travelers, I am quick to off-load my coat, shoes, laptop, cell phone, and other required items into the security bins which pass through the x-ray machine. Of course, this is all after having emptied my pockets and patted myself down before even entering the security line. My ID and boarding pass are in hand and I am ready to roll.
But unlike many other travelers, including the frequent business flyers, once I am through the screening I have a habit of pushing my multiple bins down to the end of the rollers so others behind me can continue moving. And when I empty the bins with my items, I stack them up together off in the designated locations or other spot off the rollers so the process behind me continues to flow.
During a recent trip, I joked with a TSA agent that, “You know I travel too much when I start stacking bins after going through the line.” Her response stuck with me more than I expected: “You’d be surprised how many other people just leave them there for someone else to move.”
So what does this have to do with school security, you ask? A lot.
I thought I was just being kind and perhaps, as a security consultant in a different environment, a little sensitive to the challenges security professionals have to go through while working with the public. But the TSA agent’s comments made me think about my actions.
What I really have been doing is being an active participant in the airline security program. I familiarize myself with the current security regulations, anticipate intentional and unintentional things I do which could stall or hinder the security process, take steps to follow the security procedures without disrupting the process, and when I can, help move the process along for other participants.
In reality, doing so helps me. It saves me delays. It saves me the hassles of being stopped and rescreened. And it saves me from getting secondary screening because of my own failure to know and follow the rules.
But it also helps the overall security program. By removing distractions which would be caused by my failure to know and follow the security rules, and by helping to keep the process moving, the TSA agents can focus even more closely on their primary duty of monitoring and detecting the real potential threats which challenge the airline security system.
Too often in our schools, we find school staff, parents, students, and others who believe that security rules apply to everyone —except them. Teachers and support staff want secure buildings where strangers cannot come in and hurt them, yet they prop open doors. Students want to be safe from harm, but often will open doors for a stranger or will fail to report rumors of someone threatening harm. And parents never want an unauthorized person to disrupt their child’s class or school operation, but many will sneak in a side door and go directly to their child’s class to drop off a lunch or homework assignment left at home, or will blatantly ignore dismissal pick-up traffic procedures.
Security is everyone’s job. If we want to have safe and secure schools, we have to participate in the process. We each must be a part of the security program.
Are you an active participant and a part of your school’s security program?