Are More Schools Looking at Window Film as a Viable Option?

March 14th, 2018 by Jordan Scott

Last week, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a sweeping $400 million bill designed to increase school security, mental health access and gun control in the aftermath of last month’s shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 students. The legislation includes provisions to put more bullet-resistant glass, steel doors and automatic locking devices into schools. Window film is not mentioned in the legislation specifically.

But that doesn’t mean schools aren’t looking at window film as a viable option to increase protection for its students. For example, schools in Auburn, Ala., may be adding security film to their interior glass walls to make them safer, according to the Opelika-Auburn News.

And a recent article in Tennessee’s Crossville Chronicle explored a variety of increased security measures, and briefly mentioned window film.

“There are also a number of products available that could be used to enhance school safety, like new door locks or a window film that prevents bullets from coming through the glass,” the article stated.

However, that statement highlights a major misconception about bullet-resistant films. According to Window Film Depot, there are no ballistic window films that are bulletproof.

“There are some security film plus laminated or polycarbonate glazing combinations that will provide a level of ballistic resistance. Security film plus ‘normal’ glass will not stop bullets. Never,” reads the company’s website.

Many schools are still considering film as a retrofit and cost-effective option.

In Albermarle County, Fla., the school system is evaluating the installation of window film by the end of the year. Officials at Laconia High School in New Hampshire have already moved forward with that decision to install film.

“New doors, locks and camera surveillance equipment will be installed, as will window film,” said Chief Matt Canfield in an article in the New Hampshire Union Leader. “Each of the measures is designed to slow down a shooter, with the window film transforming easily shattered plate glass into the equivalent of auto safety glass that remains mostly solid, tedious and time-consuming to remove.”

According to Idyllwild Town Crier, Hemet Unified School District in Idyllwild, Calif., is also considering installing reinforced window film throughout its schools, in addition to improving surveillance cameras and implementing electronic locks.

One major concern school administrative have, however, is that film could make students more unsafe in other emergency situations.

A New York Times article reads, “[Curtis Lavarello, executive director of the School Safety Advocacy Council] said his team had recently conducted a safety assessment at a school near Denver that had spent $600,000 fitting every window on campus with bulletproof [sic] film. Administrators had not realized that the film would prevent students trapped inside from breaking the glass to escape in an emergency.”

Is your window film company receiving bid requests at schools in your area? Post a comment here.

This article is from Focus on Film, the weekly e-newsletter that covers the latest news regarding window film and related products, including paint protection film. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to Window Film magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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