Reflective Tint Part of School Security Measures

May 16th, 2018 by Editor

As incidents of school violence continue to make headlines, officials in one Oklahoma school district have incorporated reflective window tinting as part of new security measures. Officials explain that the reflective film installations are rooted in a seemingly simple premise that’s only one part of layers of protective measures: A would-be shooter isn’t as likely to shoot at what he can’t see.

“If you have a potential assailant walking past windows of a school, all he sees is a reflection of himself, so he doesn’t know who or what is behind the glass,” explains Greg Goodman, owner of Alta Mere/Smart View in Oklahoma City, who has installed reflective one-way film in 18 of the 34 Moore Public Schools. “We believe this extra protection serves as a deterrent because if he can’t see someone there, he’s probably not going to shoot.”

Goodman explains that if a person is outside the glass with the reflective film, they see a reflection of themselves, like a bathroom mirror. Meanwhile, on the other side of the glass, teachers can see any suspicious activity. It’s similar to a one-way mirror in an interrogation room, Goodman says, but the film provides the reflective effect with “equal light,” unlike a one-way mirror that requires light on just one side.

The idea for this innovative use of window film took root following the Sandy Hook shootings in 2012, when Police Sgt. David Dickinson, then a school resource officer at Highland East Junior High School, was working on additional protective measures for his school. He recalled a security detail he had served on earlier in his career: The windows presented a risk, and protective coverings were installed. He thought a similar approach could be used at Highland East and reached out to Goodman. Within weeks, a plan was approved and the first installation was underway.

Dickinson says that after the installation at Highland East, he watched the security cameras to see how students reacted to the newly mirrored surfaces of the doors and windows in the hallways.

“They didn’t pay any attention to them,” he says. And that makes sense, he says, because people “are not likely to acknowledge what’s not there,” which goes back to the theory that a shooter isn’t as likely to shoot at what he can’t see.

Among the many “layers” of security measures that the schools are implementing, the reflective one-way film is one way to give “the good guys more time to respond,” Dickinson says.

Kristen Kuepker, who was principal at Bryant Elementary in 2013, has been through two installations. She says that when her current school, Timber Creek Elementary, opened in 2015 that the reflective film was at the top of her “wish list” for first-year projects.

Each school in the district is responsible for funding its own reflective-film installations, but after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., an anonymous donor pledged a $250,000 match for funds raised by the community for a variety of safety-feature upgrades, including security systems and communication equipment. According to the Moore Public Schools Foundation Facebook page, more than $98,000 has been raised as of May 11.

Goodman, who has been contracted by three more schools, says he’s proud to be part of the Moore Public School effort.

“It’s a great feeling to know that what we’re doing might save lives,” he says.

Jacqui Barrineau is a contributing writer to Window Film Magazine.

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  1. Window films have so many different uses. If you think outside of the square it can save lives. Proud to be part of such a great industry.

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