Today, the AIA released a statement with steps that architects and the Institute can take to move forward educational design and student safety in the face of increasing violence in schools.
“Architects have a role to play in addressing school violence,” said 2018 AIA pesident Carl Elefante, FAIA, in the press release. “For two decades, architects have worked with school communities racked by tragedy to develop better strategies in school design. While public discourse on access to firearms and mental health services remains deadlocked, the power of design can improve school safety now. AIA is committed to working with stakeholders and officials to make schools safer while building the positive, nurturing, learning environments we all want for our children.”
The Institute released the following four steps as part of its Where We Stand: School Design and Student Safety statement, and that the Institute "supports architects and their communities by dedicating resources and expertise in the following ways:"
- AIA will lead efforts at the local, state and federal levels of government to update school design guidelines. Architects can offer strategies designed to avert and restrict violence while preserving open learning environments that can positively influence student behavior and create more connected, open school communities. Achieving this critical balance in schools requires the development of best practice design standards and guidelines. AIA commits to advising on best practices and to monitor their effectiveness. AIA will work collaboratively with all levels of government to ensure they are adopted and followed.
- AIA will support collaborative and continuing education to achieve safe school design. The AIA will continue to engage in activities to better inform its members and leaders in the community of the many design options and avenues available for school officials to access. AIA will aggregate and disseminate school safety best practices by engaging its members, Knowledge Communities, and chapters across the country. AIA will conduct grassroots efforts to educate state and local government officials on the importance of implementing safe school design in their communities.
- AIA will strive to make safe school design eligible for federal grants. AIA will spearhead the formation of a multi-stakeholder coalition to support a bipartisan effort that makes architectural and design services for schools an allowable use of funds within existing federal funding and grants.
- AIA will establish a federal clearinghouse on school design. AIA is pursuing federal public policy to establish a repository of architectural and design resources that is accessible by educational officials, architects, and other design professionals to inform the design of safe, productive learning environments.