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Book Review: The Handbook for School Safety and Security

?Butterworth-Heinemann; Elsev?; 420 pages; $59.95.

Publicized as an all-encompassing guide to school security topics, The Handbook for School Safety and Security is a collection of essays from no less than 20 contributors in addition to the editors. While the book largely achieves its purpose, it seems somewhat scattered and excessively technical.�

The work is divided into three sections, each dealing with a different aspect of school security. It speaks of both school districts and university security, but separating the two into different volumes might have helped the material maintain focus.�

Each contributor is responsible for a different chapter. There are good explanations of hazards inherent in education such as violence, drugs, and the like, as well as information on protocols for protection�for instance, establishing committees, legislation, and methods of enforcement according to type of infraction or crime.�

The book goes on to discuss protection beyond students and staff. Secondary schools often use chemicals and gases in labs, and universities can possess bio agents and even nuclear materials. The book does a wonderful job of advising how to keep these resources safe and gives insight into what should be done in the event of lab problems. It also deals with protection of staff and property overseas.�

While these events are referenced, the book does not focus unduly on the Sandy Hook and Columbine trag�e�dies. It touches on them, but it also covers more commonly encountered scenarios. The authors admit that security is often improved by trial and error.�

Layered security is emphasized, beginning with students themselves. The book explains that teachers must take ownership of their classrooms and how to defend them. Depending on the threat, running, hiding, or even fighting may be in order.�

The second part of the book contains information on security technologies. This section is quite informative and thorough with regard to locks, alarm systems, lighting, and more. However, it can be quite technical and detracts from the overall work by its depth rather than as an area of discussion.�

The final part deals with social media, cyberbullying, teachers with guns, identity theft, and other practical subjects. These modern elements help round out the work by covering topics that might not otherwise be broached due to their sensitive nature or unfamiliarity.�

This reviewer recommends the work for the seasoned security professional. It contains good, relevant information. However, a novice in the security field might find it confusing and impractical without an accompanying lecture or demonstration.�

Reviewer: William Eardley IV has 26 years of experience in security and corrections. He is a member of ASIS International.