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July 13, 2000

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Summer workshop on school safety draws concerned educators to Dallas July 26-28

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Theft, vandalism, drugs, and violence on U.S. school campuses have principals, parents, and law enforcement officials wondering what they can do to make their schools safer for students during the coming school year.

That's why when roll is called July 26 in Dallas at a summer crash course on school security, at least two educators from each of the U.S. states will say "present."

Organizers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories are expecting as many as 200 principals and school security professionals to attend the three-day workshop July 26-28 in Dallas, called "Security Technologies for School Safety."

For 102 of the participants, two from every state plus D.C., it's an all-expense-paid chance to learn about the latest in security technologies and strategies from some of the top experts in the field, courtesy of the workshop's sponsors: the Department of Justice's National Institute of Justice, the Department of Education's Safe and Drug-Free Schools program, the Department of Energy (DOE), and Sandia.

The workshop is being held at DFW Airport, Dallas.

"School crime is a concern of every family in America," says Mary Green of Sandia's School Security Technologies and Resource (SSTAR) Center. "This conference can provide educators with a variety of security approaches that will help them deal with the problems they face every day, which can make schools better places to learn."

Reporters are invited to a media availability with workshop organizers and participants on Thursday, July 27, at noon at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Planet Room, DFW Airport, Dallas, TX. Please contact John German, Sandia Media Relations, 505-844-5199, jdgerma@sandia.gov, to attend or with requests for interviews or to cover other workshop activities.

Workshop participants will learn about basic strategies that contribute to safer schools; get tutorials about security technologies available to schools; discuss with experts appropriate and inappropriate uses of security technologies in schools; and hear from educators who have improved security at their own schools.

Among the non-technology-related topics are campus cleanliness, mediation, crime-reporting hotlines, visitors and trespassers, crisis-intervention programs, drug dogs, bomb threats, school layouts, legal issues, and funding sources. Technologies to be discussed include cameras and recording systems, weapon-screening systems, radios and communications, intrusion-detection systems, duress alarms, ID badging systems, entry-control systems, drug-use detection kits, and fences.

The workshop's sessions are presented by technology experts, federal officials concerned with school safety, and school and police personnel. They are designed for individuals without technical backgrounds.

On July 27, exhibits and product demonstrations by more than 50 security technology vendors will complement the workshop sessions.

See www.sstar-sandia.com for details about the workshop and session topics.

"This conference is an outstanding opportunity for professionals from both the education and law enforcement disciplines to talk, learn about technologies, and try to work out a strategy that will make our school system safer," says Paul D. Schultz, Chief of Police of the La Vista, Nebraska, Police Department. The La Vista PD works actively with its local school district on several cooperative security-related programs.

Sandia's School Security Technologies and Resource Center in Albuquerque, N.M., serves as an independent advisor to administrators and school security professionals. It draws on Sandia's decades of experience designing security systems as part of its DOE mission to protect materials vital to U.S. national security.

In recent years Sandia has applied that experience to deterring violent crime, theft, vandalism, and drug and alcohol use on school campuses using proven technologies and security principles. Sandia researchers often conduct vulnerability analyses of school grounds or advise principals, teachers, parents, and law enforcement personnel about ways to curtail and respond to campus crime. (See www.sandia.gov/media/schools.htm for results of one such Sandia project at a New Mexico high school.)

Schools often don't have a lot of money, so part of Sandia's role is to evaluate security technologies for use in schools and advise educators on practical, sometimes non-technical solutions to a school's security problems. Affordability is a primary issue.

More about Sandia's school security work can be found at:

Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company, for the United States Department of Energy under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major research and development responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Media contact:
John German, jdgerma@sandia.gov, (505) 844-5199

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