It has become very clear that a singular approach in school security is not the answer and that one type of security system alone is not enough to provide complete protection for students, staff and visitors.
The tragedies surrounding school shootings continue to reinforce the message that stringent security measures need to be in place to keep those in educational settings safe. Over the past few years, many school administrators have invested in better surveillance systems, access control credentials and even gunshot detection technology to protect students, teachers and staff.
This is why it’s important that schools should include multiple layers of security to ensure a secure campus environment that protects the front door, hallways and classrooms.
Securing the front door
Many schools have moved away from an open front door environment where parents and delivery personnel could freely walk into the lobby. Administrators have now incorporated locked entrances where people can only enter the building after initially being vetted by the front desk staff.
This is accomplished by implementing two-way intercom systems at the entrance. An important first layer of protection, intercom systems can enable front desk personnel to not only talk to someone who would like to enter, but also clearly see the person when the system includes an integrated IP video camera.
The ability to see, hear and talk to the person is invaluable to school staff. They can quickly determine if the person is who they say they are, check credentials using the video camera and see if the person is agitated or carrying a weapon. In the event of an emergency, school staff can maintain a locked entrance and alert school personnel and law enforcement.
Watching hallways and common areas
Surveillance provides the school’s security with the ability to see what is going on in multiple places at once. When used in the parking lot, hallways and cafeteria, video can help schools identify problems, such as a crowd gathering because of a fight between students.
Unless actively monitored or configured with analytics, much of the benefit around surveillance technology remains reactive. Video can be used to help identify a student who pulled a fire alarm, walked out of the bathroom after a fight or propped open an exterior door.
Providing communication and security tools in the classroom
In the classroom, it is equally important to ensure that teaching staff have access to security tools and can easily communicate with the front office in the event of an emergency. An intercom system installed in each classroom enables a teacher to reach the front office quickly.
The direct line of communication with the front office ensures that school personnel can respond quickly if a fight breaks out during class, or if a student or teacher experiences a medical emergency.
Implementing credentials for staff
Just as it’s important to know who is visiting a school, it is equally as important to implement an access control program for teachers and staff. Access control enables staff or security to easily track who is coming and going, and to provide secure access at authorized entrance points.
In the event of a school employee being terminated, a school district can quickly deactivate the access control credential to remove access privileges without interrupting access for other staff members.
One solution alone isn’t going to solve the problem of school security. School districts need to make sure their school security program incorporates a layered approach that integrates multiple technologies to provide complete campus coverage.