Two Powerful Tools to Help Schools Support a Secure Environment for Learning

By David Strickland, Vice President of Kenton Brothers

At Kenton Brothers Systems for Security, we are proud of our role in protecting People, Property and Possessions, especially when it comes to our partnerships within education. With that in mind, we are happy to spotlight a new collaborative effort that is paying off big time. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) are teaming up to help schools become more secure and to better support a learning environment. They’ve released two guides to help schools create great security plans and to help pay for them!

First, The CISA Resources and DHS Grants guide helps orientate school districts to the multitude of resources available to them to support school security. These include the new collaborative website called:

This is an interagency website created by the Federal government to provide schools and districts with actionable recommendations to create safe and supportive environments for students and educators.


The K-12 School Security Guide Product Suite is designed to provide K-12 districts and campuses with resources, tools, and strategies to improve school physical security. The suite outlines action-oriented practices and helps schools and districts learn the steps necessary to assess vulnerabilities, strengthen security, and better protect against a range of targeted violence and other threats.


The K-12 Bystander Reporting Toolkit supports K-12 schools and districts in strengthening school safety reporting programs and encouraging bystander reporting among students and other members of the school community.


The School Safety Task Force (SSTF) hosts an annual National Summit on K-12 School Safety and Security to bring Federal, state, and local school leaders together to share actionable recommendations that enhance safe and supportive learning environments.

GRANTS FINDER TOOL’s Grants Finder tool houses school safety-related Federal grants in one centralized location and provides members of the K-12 school community with a variety of ways to search for and access funding opportunities. The tool features multiple of Federally available school safety-specific grants searchable based on school safety topic, award amount, application level of effort, and more.

Two Powerful Tools to Help Schools Support a Secure Environment for Learning

CISA Resources and DHS Grants.pdf

Social Media Threat Guidance for School Staff and Authorities

In late December 2023, DHA and CISA published the Social Media Threat Guidance for School Staff and Authorities Infographic. It highlights social media threats affecting school districts in the United States. It goes a step further by providing mitigation and response measures for social media threats directed at a school district. It also connects school safety stakeholders to the suite of tools and resources provided by CISA and its partners to promote a culture of readiness and preparedness.

Technology has revolutionized the American school system, making education more accessible than ever before.  However, the advancements and accessibility of various social media platforms continue to reveal new vulnerabilities and security gaps within the school threat landscape. In the United States, social media-based threats to school districts continue to rise; in 2022, school districts reported closing more frequently due to social media threats than for COVID-19 outbreaks.

Download this powerful resource here:

Two Powerful Tools to Help Schools Support a Secure Environment for Learning

Social Media Threat Guidance for School Staff and Authorities Infographic.pdf

This collaborative approach from DHS and CISA in helping schools understand what resources are available to them and providing financial resources to support the initiatives is a step in the right direction. Kenton Brothers is happy to help guide schools through this process. Please give us a call today.

In September, Almost 500 Missouri Schools Received Safety Grant Awards

By Gina Stuelke, CEO of Kenton Brothers

2023 Missouri School Safety Grant AwardsFor Kenton Brothers, ensuring the safety and security of students, teachers, and staff in schools across the country is of paramount importance. In recent years, the need for robust physical security measures in school districts has become increasingly evident due to unfortunate incidents of violence and threats. One of our areas of expertise is commercial security solutions for school districts, and recent news about safety grant awards for Missouri schools caught our attention.

On June 30, 2023, Governor Mike Parson signed House Bill No. 2 for Fiscal Year 2024 (FY2024) which appropriated $50 million in funding for a second round of School Safety Grants to support physical safety improvements in local education agencies (LEAs) and nonpublic schools (NPSs) across the state. These funds will be distributed through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s FY24 School Safety Grant Program. These grants were awarded to almost 500 Missouri schools in September. (For a complete list of Missouri schools receiving these funds, click here.)

10 Ways These Funds Could Be Used to Improve School Safety

2023 Missouri School Safety Grant AwardsThe Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has outlined various recommendations for enhancing school security. In this article, we discuss the top 10 physical security upgrades that school districts must consider implementing immediately, based on DHS guidelines.

1. Access Control Systems

One of the first and foremost security upgrades school districts should make is implementing an access control system. These systems restrict unauthorized entry into school buildings by requiring individuals to use credentials, such as key cards, PINs, or biometric data, to gain access. Properly designed access control systems can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized individuals entering school premises and pose a crucial layer of school security. All Access control systems implemented in schools should include door position sensors to report when doors are propped open or forced open anywhere around the exterior of the building.

DHS Recommendation: DHS emphasizes the importance of access control systems to deter and detect intruders. Schools should consider a layered approach that includes access control points at all building entrances.

2. IP Video Surveillance Cameras

Surveillance cameras play a crucial role in monitoring school premises and deterring criminal activity. Modern cameras come equipped with advanced features such as high-definition recording, night vision, and motion detection. Placing cameras strategically in and around school buildings can help identify and document suspicious behavior.

DHS Recommendation: The DHS recommends schools install surveillance cameras at key locations, including entrances, hallways, parking lots, and outdoor areas. Additionally, schools should consider integrating their camera systems with an alarm monitoring service.

3. Intrusion Detection Systems

2023 Missouri School Safety Grant AwardsIntrusion detection systems are designed to detect unauthorized access to buildings and alert security personnel or authorities immediately. These systems can be connected to doors, windows, and other access points, triggering alarms in the event of a breach. Early detection of intruders is critical for swift response and mitigation.

DHS Recommendation: DHS encourages the use of intrusion detection systems and recommends regular testing and maintenance to ensure their effectiveness.

4. Bulletproof Glass and Ballistic Barriers

Incorporating bulletproof glass and ballistic barriers in critical areas of school buildings can provide an extra layer of protection against armed threats. These materials are designed to withstand various levels of impact and can buy precious time for security personnel and occupants during an active shooter situation. There have been large, innovative strides in this technology recently. These innovations include fire and escape improvements all allowing for quicker egress.

DHS Recommendation: The DHS recommends considering the use of bulletproof glass and ballistic barriers in areas such as main entrances and administrative offices.

5. Visitor Management Systems

A visitor management system is a digital solution that helps schools monitor and control visitor access. These systems require visitors to register upon entry, provide identification, and undergo background checks when necessary. By implementing visitor management systems, schools can better control who enters their premises.

DHS Recommendation: The DHS suggests that schools should have a clear visitor policy in place, including the use of visitor management systems, to enhance security.

6. Security Fencing

2023 Missouri School Safety Grant AwardsSecurity fencing is another essential security upgrade. It provides a physical barrier to deter intruders and prevent unauthorized access to the school grounds. Fencing can be combined with controlled entry points, surveillance cameras, and alarm systems to create a comprehensive security solution.

DHS Recommendation: According to DHS guidelines, school districts should ensure that fencing is properly maintained, adequately secured, and complements other security measures that are in place.

7. Security Lighting

Proper lighting can significantly improve the security of school premises, as it deters criminals and enhances surveillance capabilities. Well-lit areas also help students and staff feel safer when entering or exiting school buildings during dark hours.

DHS Recommendation: The DHS suggests that schools evaluate their outdoor lighting and consider upgrading to motion-activated lighting in vulnerable areas

8. Panic Alarms

In emergency situations, quick communication with law enforcement is vital. Panic alarms, often connected to local police departments, enable immediate alerts in case of threats or emergencies. These alarms can be discreetly activated by school personnel and trigger a rapid response from law enforcement agencies.

DHS Recommendation: DHS emphasizes the importance of panic alarms for notifying authorities in real-time during security incidents.

9. Lockdown Procedures and Hardware

2023 Missouri School Safety Grant AwardsEffective lockdown procedures are crucial for safeguarding students and staff during emergencies. Schools should invest in secure locks and hardware for classroom and office doors to ensure that they can be easily locked and barricaded from the inside during a lockdown. Training staff and students on these procedures is equally important.

DHS Recommendation: The DHS recommends that schools develop and practice lockdown procedures regularly, including drills and training sessions. They also advise installing locks that can be locked from the inside without requiring keys.

10. Security Training and Education

Last but certainly not least, the DHS strongly emphasizes the importance of security training and education for school staff and students. Ensuring that everyone is well-informed about security protocols, emergency procedures, and situational awareness can greatly enhance the overall safety of the school environment. Even the greatest systems will not have any value if the people that use them every day don’t understand how to use them effectively.

DHS Recommendation: Regular training and education programs should be implemented to teach staff and students how to recognize and respond to security threats effectively.

In Closing…

The safety and security of our schools must be a top priority. By following the Department of Homeland Security’s recommendations and implementing these top 10 physical security upgrades, school districts can create a safer and more secure environment for students, teachers, and staff. It’s essential for schools to remain vigilant, regularly assess their security measures, and adapt to emerging threats to ensure the protection of their educational communities.

Kenton Brothers Systems for Security works closely with school districts and universities all over the Midwest to create effective, manageable security systems. Give us a call today to have our team of certified security consultants help create your plan.

Active Shooter: Real world stories about lockdowns in schools saving lives.

By David Strickland, Vice President of Kenton Brothers

On November 14th, 2017 at 7:30 am, shots ring out near Rancho Tehama Elementary in Northern California. It’s an all too familiar but tragic scenario these days. One moment children are playing on a full playground, the next, panic, confusion and the succession of two more shots. This time however, the outcome is different than some of the other school shootings you may have heard about.

The staff members of the elementary school went into lockdown mode and followed the procedures they’d practiced and drilled multiple times. The staff knew what to do, and they did it in the face of true and present danger.

The secretary immediately sent out the signal for LOCKDOWN. 

Lockdown ProtocolsStudents were rushed into the building by staff members. Family members still present in the school yard were corralled by school support personnel. Teachers and staff members locked their internal doors and barricaded external doors. They huddled in their rooms away from the windows and out of the line of sight of the shooter. Hugging each other and the most solid wall in their classroom for safety.

Within seconds, two-thirds of the school was in lockdown. An then the shooter drove his pickup truck through the school fence and barreled toward the front entrance. The school custodian was busy getting parents into the school. He paused to look and see how far away the shooter was and, “looked the shooter in the eye as the shooter shot at him.” After the shot rang out, “The shooter was struggling with his weapon at this time. The gun appeared to be jammed, and he was having trouble loading ammunition.”

The gun jamming bought the staff, kids and parents precious seconds to finish their lockdown procedure. Everyone made it inside and all access to the school rooms and offices was now secure. The shooter, now fully loaded, entered the middle quad of the school 8 seconds later.

“The school secretary recognizing the threat made all the difference between 100 kids being around today and dozens being shot or killed. Those eight seconds were critical!”

The shooter was angry and frustrated and began to shoot into the classrooms and offices. In between shooting, the gunman tried to get into classrooms and the main office, but was unable to gain entry. He checked the bathroom, which was open but empty.

One 6 year old child was injured but survived and no one was killed. Six minutes after the shooting started, the gunman drove away. Hundreds of lives were changed forever, but everyone survived.

The Rancho Tehama Elementary School staff had practiced drills and executed lockdowns before, so even though they’ve never had an active shooter on campus, they knew what to do. It had become second nature.

The superintendent said, “The lockdown procedure was implemented flawlessly. The reason that we have a situation where I have one student injured on campus and nothing worse happening on campus is because of the heroic actions of all members of my school staff.”

Oxford High School in 2021

Lockdown ProtocolsThe same techniques and lockdown training were used in Michigan at Oxford High School on November 30, 2021.   Just after lunch, shots rang out inside the school in the main hallway. A 15 year-old student opened fire on his classmates. School staff, students and parents in the school that day followed the LOCKDOWN call and began to follow their training. “They had drilled this exact scenario so much that everyone knew exactly what to do next.”

In the hours after the shooting outside Detroit on Tuesday, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said that without the measures taken by students, the tragedy would have been worse. “It is also evident from the scene that the lockdown protocols, training and equipment Oxford schools had in place saved lives.”

David Riedman, lead researcher on the K-12 School Shooting Database, said that the lockdown procedures that were deployed in Oxford, in which students sheltered and stayed out of sight, “absolutely saved lives.” The training that appeared to be on display in Michigan is similar to what students all over the country are taught, he said.

LOCKDOWNS took on new meaning during the heights of the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

Lockdown ProtocolsIn the physical security world, lockdowns mean locking down a building so that no one can enter or leave for a period of time. The location stays locked down until an all-clear signal is given. This seems like a pretty straight forward premise. It is – IF you plan correctly and have the right systems and procedures in place to make a LOCKDOWN effective.

Kenton Brothers uses several access control platforms to make it easy and quick to lock down a school. When a panic button is pressed, all the school doors lock. And alarms and mass communications go out audibly through speakers and electronically through mobile devices and computers throughout the school.

One of our manufacturers, Gallagher, allows you to not only lock down the school, but also send out emergency messaging to any staff members or parents who are not at the school. This would allow them to stay away or help support police in their efforts to bring the situation under control. Gallagher also has the ability to remotely muster or check off each person from a pre-determined list to be sure 100% of the people on-site are accounted for. This is a powerful benefit in the aftermath of these incidents.

Police can also remotely operate and IP Surveillance cameras in the building to gain situational intelligence on the location of the shooter and the direction they’re headed. This is just one example of how these security systems can help support the training, processes and procedures during a Lockdown situation.

Kenton Brothers Systems for Security helps guide schools and other entities through the process of identifying risks around active shooters and the techniques in protecting your people, property and possessions. Kenton Brothers’ qualified consultants will perform a no cost physical security assessment with recommendations for security system components, processes and procedures that will help prepare your staff. Just give us a call.

Additional Resources

CISA K-12 School Security Guide, 3rd Edition

COVID Fighter – Opening Office Doors Without Using Your Hands

By Ryan Kaullen, Field Services Manager at Kenton Brothers

You can’t turn on the TV, read a news article, or go anywhere without hearing about COVID. And rightfully so. COVID is causing uncertainty in our world, but one thing is certain… Kenton Brothers is working at the forefront to help our customers stay safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Wrist Pulls, Push Plates and Foot Pulls

COVID Fighter: Foot PullsRecently, we’ve been getting requests and calls for help related to door hardware. Our customers are asking, “How can we add safety features to keep our employees safe while keeping our doors/openings functional?” In response, we’ve been installing wrist pulls, push plates, and foot pulls at our customer sites to meet this growing need.

Wrist pulls, push plates, and foot pulls allow employees to go in and out of doors without using their hands. A perfect example of this type of project was the recent installation of 38 restroom doors on a multi-floor office building. We can keep the functionality of commercial doors intact, maintaining a clean and professional appearance, while increasing the health safety for the staff.

Want to know more about COVID Fighter solutions?

Is your company looking for ways to offer hands free solutions to openings at your facility? We would love the opportunity to show you our full line of COVID Fighter offerings. These include hands-free mechanical locking hardware, touchless Commercial Access Control, and Commercial Video Temperature Monitoring solutions. Give us a call!

COVID Fighter: Hands Free Mechanical Locking Hardware COVID Fighter: Hands Free Mechanical Locking Hardware

Global Solutions: Easily Centralize Control of all your Locations

By Ryan Kaullen, Field Services Manager at Kenton Brothers

Kenton Brothers has the honor and privilege of working with many types of customers including government entities. Recently, a governmental client located in the state of Missouri wanted to expand their access control system. The goal was to deploy it globally across their different physical sites across the state.

You may ask, “What’s a Global Solution?” Think of it like an ecosystem that enables users to knit together an entire security management system & video management system under one, centrally controlled, and distributed network.

S2 Security LogoThis specific customer uses S2, an access control platform that Kenton Brothers supports and installs. This access control application made sense for the customer for many reasons, including the ability to monitor and manage multiple locations centrally. They can quickly build reports that run on a schedule, make security changes immediately that are reflected across the entire system, and build and administer global access levers that grant permissions across the entire organization.

Kenton Brothers: Global S2 Solution for Governmental Entity

Our S2 based solution took care of a major need for this customer. Previously, they were using a collection of off-line systems. These included mechanical systems with no audit capabilities and individual access control systems with no standardization.

The S2 Global solution allows them to have standardized security across all of their sites. They’ve reduced their liability, upgraded their commercial security, and adopted a centrally managed system. The results? Their business is more efficient, they receive expedited alerts of security issues, and they have the ability to expand their coverage across future sites down the road.

Whether Kenton Brothers’ clients need a standalone system or something as intricate as a global deployment for their business needs, we are able to help and guide our customers down the path that best protects their people, property, and possessions.

Kenton Brothers: Global S2 Solution for Governmental Entity