In December 2014, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) hosted a workshop on the broad topic of school violence, which is defined as an active threat of some sort that has the potential to harm a measurable segment of the school population. In part, this topic is an NFPA issue because school violence often has been linked in some form or another with fire safety.
NFPA recognized that addressing both the security needs and the safety of students and faculty from fire and other hazards requires a delicate balance. For instance, the activation of the building fire alarm system could be a perpetrator’s way to get students into the corridor or out of the building for purposes of causing harm. And after-market security systems and locks could interfere with the protection of school occupants during a fire emergency. The report generated from the workshop, and released in May, does not provide hard and fast solutions to the challenges, but it does provide direction, especially to the codes and standards development community.