Letter: Hazards present in Page School design
Statistics prove natural lighting enhances learning and that the proper utilization of glass in school buildings provides that lighting and can lower energy costs. It also must be understood that the improper or overuse of glass in school buildings can result in negative impacts such as higher construction costs, higher energy costs, higher maintenance costs, redesign and modification costs, distraction of students from learning, building occupants becoming the target of a potential shooter, and more.
To adequately protect the occupants of a school building from a potential outside shooter, the use of glass must be done in such a manner as to prevent a shooter from obtaining a line of sight. When determining the transition point between a solid wall and glass, the height of a person plus three or so feet should be considered to prevent line of sight target acquisition. If there are trees, towers, buildings or other means for a potential shooter to gain a height advantage to establish line of sight, those conditions should be considered as well. The use of privacy type fencing to secure glass wall areas, as is intended for Page Middle School, only serves to provide a potential shooter with cover, concealment and height advantage. The use of interior glass should also be considered thoroughly to minimize the ability of an inside shooter.
In today’s reaction drills, students are taught to do whatever possible to evasively minimize line of sight opportunity for a potential shooter. Glass areas between classrooms and hallways or open areas should not provide this line of acquisition or line of sight opportunity. If glass is used in any of the areas not suggested herein it should be bulletproof in composition as should its framework. Bullet-resistant glass is expensive; costing upwards of $60 a square foot plus framing materials and installation costs. Does Gloucester County really want to construct such a potentially hazardous school environment?
Kenneth E. Hogge Sr.
Gloucester Point, Va.