But, as mentioned, shootings aren’t the only threat. Just this week, a fire at Eastridge High School in Clermont, Florida, destroyed $200,000 worth of property. This is where multifunctionality — where products perform more than one purpose — becomes key.
In Vetrotech’s case, we offer a complete range of multifunctional products: fire-protective and fire-resistive glazing that works in conjunction with security glazing options. The truth is, however, that budget is going to play a big role in the product that gets used. So while we aim to offer multifunctional protective products at an economical price point, other options might support multifunctionality at a price a school district can manage without sacrificing other critical needs. For example, Solar Gard’s Armorcoat window film—when properly installed through their Certified Dealer Network—adds resilient layers for anti-intrusion, impact resistance and visual deterrent security measures, while still offering visible light transmission as high as 72 percent where desired. That light is important: We know that according to the California Energy Commission, the learning rate of students increases by 21 percent when the room is filled with natural light.
And really, that’s the ultimate point of these layers. Rather than designing building schools that mimic prisons in both security and aesthetics, multifunctional products allow architects to create safe, beautiful buildings where learning can flourish. We want to keep our kids safe, but we also don’t want to sacrifice the freedom they’re supposed to be enjoying in these first steps of independence. When we can let in the light while keeping out the threats, that’s a win.