Dr. Del Jarman, Director of Education and Business Development Executive for Odle McGuire Shook Architects (OMS) in Indianapolis, Indiana has prepared a White Paper Article on the topic of the state of K thru 12 Education and the security realities challenges of today’s world.

Former School Superintendent and highly credentialed, Dr. Jarman will be available for discussions and is part the OMS Architect’s Team. He is a recognized expert and extremely knowledgeable in K thru 12 Education – specifically school safety and security.  

He will be present at the OMS exhibit booth # 420 during the upcoming ISBA-IAPSS Fall Conference September 10th & 11th at the Indianapolis Convention Center, Indianapolis Indiana accompanying C.E.O. Matt Mayol and OMS professional staff associates.

Under the direction of C.E.O. Mayol and Dr. Jarman, OMS produced a targeted comprehensive in-depth video production on the topic of being proactive in K thru 12 School Safety and Security. This video production will be unveiled for viewing only to attendees visiting the OMS Exhibit Booth at the ISBA-IAPSS Conference.

All participants at this year’s Fall Conference are invited to visit OMS Exhibit Booth 420 at this year’s ISBA Conference Event. Attendees are encouraged to view the video discuss the topic and be to be part of the conversation to define strategic options and explore solutions in K thru 12 School Security. This video will also be on a free thumb drive distributed to exhibit booth visitors at the Conference.

Dr. Del Jarman’s Professional and Academic Credentials:

  • Director of Education at Indianapolis Juvenile Correctional Facility – 1st juvenile center in the U.S. to house both male and female offenders in the same prison.
  • Former High School Teacher, Counselor, Athletic Director, and Head Football Coach. 
  • Bachelor of Science in Education – Florida State University 
  • Masters in Counseling at Indiana University 
  • Doctorate in Educational Administration at Indiana University
  • Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Personnel at several school districts.
  • Superintendent of Schools in Indiana, Kentucky and Nevada.
  • Rank of Major and Associate Professor of Education at The Citadel, The Military College of So. Carolina.
  • Developed the formation of a joint doctoral program between the University of South Carolina and the Citadel.
  • Associate Professor and Chairman of Educational Leadership Department at Kennesaw State University
  • Assistant Professor of Education at Ball State University
  • Conducted and directed the School Safety Audit for Ball State University’s Burris School
  • State University Superintendent Search Committee member
  • Adjunct Professor at the University of Nevada – Reno
  • Directed the educational program for the Piute-Shoshone Indian Reservation School while serving as Superintendent for Humboldt County Schools in Nevada
  • Major area of expertise and instruction:  Public School Facilities: Construction and Renovation
  • Directed budgets totaling over $100,000,000 in school construction projects
  • Have published numerous articles in educational research outlets.
  • Recognized by the IBM Corporation as one of the top 100 new superintendents in the United States.
  • Educational Consultant to numerous school boards and superintendents.
  • Currently – Director of Education and Business Development Executive at Odle McGuire and Shook in Indianapolis.

Dr. Del Jarman’s White Paper on K thru 12 School Safety and Security –

It’s Time to Get Serious about School Safety

By:  Dr. Delbert Jarman

Director of Education and Business Development Executive for the Architectural firm of Odle, McGuire and Shook, (OMS)

The date was April 20, 1999.  The result included 13 dead and 24 wounded.  Seniors Dylan Bennet Klebold and Eric David Harris were the WHO.   Most people no longer remember them. They also don’t remember the WHY or even the HOW.  They just remember the WHAT and the WHERE. Say “Columbine” and everyone thinks the exact same thing:  “School Shooting!”

Since 1999, the United States has averaged ten school shootings each year.   Do the math! In 19 years the U.S. has had 190 school shootings and the number continues to grow.  

As reported by the Washington Post and a publication known as The Daily Beast, “School shootings have occurred in 36 states and more than 187,000 students have experienced school shootings in their schools.”  These were the numbers just three months ago.

Unfortunately, we can now raise the number of school shootings to 191 and the number of states to 37.  Indiana, and more specifically, Noblesville Community Schools has now been added to the mix. As sad as it makes me say this, it doesn’t appear that school shootings are going to end any time soon!  

We’re not going to suddenly cure all the problems that teenagers encounter.  Feelings of isolation, anger, frustration, and mistrust still occur and will continue to occur in the future.

It’s time that everyone realizes that this is now society’s problem.  It doesn’t just happen somewhere else anymore. It just happened right here in our own backyard!  Local school districts and local communities will have to learn how to come to grips with this issue and they’ll have to learn to deal with it in a rationale, yet very different and determined way!  

To be sure, not every state will attack the problem in the same way.  Not every local school district or community will agree on how to solve the problem.  No one will say it’s easy, and, depending upon how a local community decides to deal with it, it may not be cheap!  But it is necessary and it’s time to get serious and look at spending the necessary time, effort, and resources to move the needle forward a few notches.  

The good thing is that most school districts have already begun to address increased school security.   Many districts are already using security cameras, but that doesn’t mean that the focus on elementary and middle schools has been as high on the list as the focus on high schools.  

Some districts have added motion-detection with alarms that alert law enforcement.  Others have increased lighting around their school buildings and in parking lots and others have added video surveillance to that effort.  

All of these are good measures but what are some of the other options that school districts have adopted or are considering?

The Case for Metal Detectors:

In December 2017, issue of School Security and Safety, an article entitled, “Do Metal Detectors Make Sense for Your School District?” stated that the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School marked a significant turning point for school safety. 

According to the article, “It prompted a surge in building modifications across the nation…the National Center for Education Statistics indicated that 75% of public schools surveyed used security cameras to monitor their schools, 68 percent required faculty and staff to wear picture IDs, and 24% used drug-sniffing dogs – but only 4% used random metal detectors.   

The article points out that the use of metal detectors in schools has mostly been limited to large urban districts where there’s been an established record of weapons-related violence.   

New York City’s Education Department installed its first metal detectors in schools in 1988 and currently, metal detectors are utilized in more than 90 school buildings.   

Data from the New York Police Department showed that metal detectors significantly cut down on the number of box cutters, knives, and guns that were smuggled into the city’s public schools.

Eric Weston, chief of police for Boston Public Schools believes that metal detectors keep firearms out of the schools almost entirely and reduces the number of knives and other weapons from entering its school buildings.  Weston states,” Metal detectors changed things…I would definitely advocate for it.”

However, there is a misperception in the education industry that metal detection is just too expensive to be used as a first line deterrent.  In actuality, the price of some of these units has now dropped to a more than a reasonable expense.

The cost of portable and stationary metal detectors can now run as little as $1000 per unit while at the upward end, the per unit cost can still exceed $30,000.  However, models with features best suited for the school environment usually run in the $3000 to $4000 range.

Extrapolating that data means that a medium to larger high school with as many as 10 entrances and exits could be looking at a price tag of only $30-$40,000 in which to cover its access points, and that’s if it wanted to allow all ten of those entrances to be utilized during the morning start times and the afternoon dismissals when traffic in and out of the building is at its heaviest.  

The larger question may not be the cost of equipment but the training and personnel to monitor those areas.    Is there a need to hire school resource officers (SRO’s) to man each station or could a district get by with trained para-professionals such as retired police officers or military personnel?  Other questions still remain after the school day begins.

Are students and adults screened only when they arrive in the morning or are those wishing to enter the building screened throughout the entire school day?  Also, schools who use metal detection often limit the number of access points to those who arrive after the start of the regular school take-up time.

Even so, questions still remain for those schools which have not yet used metal detection.  Do kids feel safer when a school uses a metal detector? Do parents feel their children are safer if the school utilizes a detector?   What about the folks who think the use of metal detectors is an invasion of a student’s fourth amendment rights regarding unreasonable search and seizure?  

To be sure, the use of metal detection is not an easy decision, but locations such as New York and Boston have come to grips with this intrusion and it’s fair to say that other districts will eventually learn to deal with this new reality at some point in the future.  A parent group in Noblesville is already asking the Boards to consider such action.

There is a growing number of individuals and groups who now believe that the use of metal detectors should no longer be confined to places such as New York City and Boston.  In fact, some states are discussing legislation that would place metal detectors in every school within the state.

Representative Wendall Gilliard of South Carolina, has proposed a bill to place walk-thru detectors at every entrance of every public elementary, middle and high school in the state of South Carolina.  He offered, “Are we going to wait for another Columbine or Sandy Hook?… I always tell people, if the technology is there, then use it!” And, as if on cue, the state of Indiana recently decided to offer a hand-held metal detector for every Indiana school that applies for its use.

The number of detectors to be granted is at the rate of one detector for every 250 students.   Since Indiana has now taken that action, can the next step of walk-thru detectors be far away?   

See-Through Backpacks

The tragedy that occurred this spring in Parkland, Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was another grim reminder that school shootings can happen at any time and at any place.  17 students and staff were killed by a single gunman.

When students return to school in the fall, however, they’ll be required to utilize clear plastic backpacks to carry their books, school supplies, and personal items.  Some students are upset with the new requirement but others see it as a small price to pay for enhanced school safety.

As controversial as it may be, the idea of using clear plastic or mesh backpacks is not a new one.   Curie High School in Chicago implemented such a rule in 2013 and North East Independent School District in Houston adopted a similar rule in 2014 when it was discovered that a student had allegedly brought three loaded guns and a knife into Madison High School.  

There now appears to be a growing number of school districts who are considering this move as well.   It’s been reported that some school districts are providing the clear backpacks free of charge to their students while others are considering the possibility of charging the clear containers as a part of their annual book fees.  

As difficult as it may be to wrap our heads around such a thought as requiring students to conform to this idea, it’s become an SOP (standard operating procedure) within the NFL.  The Indianapolis Colts, now require fans to utilize clear containers to obtain admission to its football games.

There’s no doubt that discussions about safety are growing on the school front.  We have become accustomed to intrusions when we travel through U.S. airports but considering all these options for our Public- School buildings is a different matter altogether.  

To complicate the issue further, will schools allow students to just walk into the building with clear backpacks slung over their shoulders, or will they eventually ask students to place those same items on conveyor belts so that the bags can be checked? This is exactly what happens at airport security checkpoints.

The broader question then becomes, “Should public schools combine both bag checks and entrance-door metal detectors in Indiana’s Public-School buildings?”

Even if the Indiana legislature required it, or if every school district in the state of Indiana decided that it was time to put walk-thru metal detectors and backpack checkpoints in its school entrances, there’s still the issue of state architectural building codes and fire marshal concerns that will need to be addressed.  

The number of students who will move in an out of any particular school entrance and the space requirements that are needed to accommodate that movement presents a major problem to school districts.  

In these matters, school boards should obtain the counsel and advice of a licensed architectural firm as it begins its discussion of new safety plans.  As simple as sounds, simply placing a metal detector and/or a conveyor belt in a doorway will not solve the school safety issue. In fact, implementing such a move without obtaining architectural input may prove disastrous.

At OMS, we are actively involved in helping our clients with the design of safe and secure schools.  We provide security audits to help our clients determine feasible upgrades to their current security plans.  A security audit is the most important ‘first step’ to the design or redesign of safe and secure school facilities.  

We have designed plans that develop safer and more secure entrances and vestibules.  We have designed plans that utilize security cameras and motion detectors. We have increased lighting for spaces around the school building and in the parking lots and tied those to video security equipment.  

We have designed classrooms with walls made completely of glass and vestibules that separate the outside and inside of school buildings and which allow for earlier detection of problem areas.  

In addition, we have designed school spaces for community activities with entrances that are separate from a school’s interior learning spaces.  We have upgraded visitor management systems which scan a visitor’s ID and automatically alert police if the visitor is someone who shouldn’t be in the school.  

We have installed secure door locks with quick-release capability.  And, we have actively researched a new 3-M bullet-resistant film which can be applied to currently installed glass and also to the windows and doors of newly constructed space.  We believe strongly that we can enhance your school district’s discussion of school safety and security.

Before learning can take place – students, teachers, parents and administrators must feel that their school has a safe and secure learning environment.  If your district has questions regarding a safe and secure environment, OMS can help you find the answers.

About OMS – Odle McGuire Shook Architecture –

Our firm’s slogan – “100 Years of Forward Thinking” OMScorp.net

OMS has over one-hundred-years of history in architectural services throughout the Midwest and we continue to evolve. Our 100th year anniversary slogan is “Celebrating 100 Years of Forward Thinking.”

Having an aggressive and exceptionally talented team is critical to our firm’s growth and success. We challenge our talented team not to follow trends – but to set them.

Odle McGuire Shook Architecture is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana and is licensed in 9 states. The firm’s specialities are General Architectural Services, Interior Design and Landscape Architecture.

For more information, question, interview inquiries or additional photography –

Contact John Miles @ 317-319-3309 – OMS Media & Public Relations Representative.

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