Safety in schools has always been of paramount importance. But, with so many high-profile incidents of violence occuring at schools across the U.S. there is an increased urgency to improve school access control systems, especially in cases of emergency.
According to The NPS Center for Homeland Defense and Security, there were 94 school shooting incidents in 2018. This is 60% more than the previous high of 59% in 2006. Add to this the fact that 749,000 nonfatal victimizations, including all theft and violent crime, were reported in 2016 between students aged 12 to 18.
Many schools made strides in improving their security systems during the 2015 to 2016 school year. With 94% of high schools, 89% of middle schools and 73% of primary schools making use of video surveillance. Use of mandatory faculty and student photo-ID badges, school uniforms and random metal detector checks also increased.
According to IHS Markit data, 2017 saw school security system installation and sales of security equipment and services to the education sector climb to $2.7 billion
Of course, being prepared is the best defense a school has in case of an emergency. Ensuring the facility is secure by keeping unauthorized individuals out will greatly assist in keeping students safe. It protects them from outside dangers and providing a ready and controlled means of egress.
Though there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there are a number of steps that you can take immediately, while the school maps out their long-term security plan.
The security system a school uses should be able to do the following:
- Monitor and control access to the building, using traditional locking solutions or, preferably, access control systems
- Secure classrooms quickly from the inside, with specially designed lockset functions
- Provide safe egress from the building
Where to Start
The fundamentals come first. Check all existing entrances and exists to establish that they close and latch easily, as well as whether existing hardware is operational. Remove door stops from outer doors, as they can prevent doors from closing quickly in an emergency.
Review key control too:
- Does your facility make use of a key control and master key system?
- What are the key control policies?
- Are all keys present?
- Is there a system in place to prevent the unauthorized distribution of keys?
Address any grey areas in your school’s key control system immediately. And, if the system is not properly managed, an electronic access control system is the ideal solution.
Any long-term vision for the school’s security should also include the best locking scenario for all doors in the facility. Consider whether they need to remain locked throughout the day, with limited access only through a certain point, or remain unlocked except for emergency situations.
School Access Control Systems
Controlling access to facilities should be the first order of business for any school. Helpful for preventing theft and vandalism, access control in schools is important at the beginning and end of the day. However, possibly even more important during the entire school day. In the aftermath of many of the recent school shooting tragedies, one of the first questions asked is, “how did the shooter get in?”
Access control systems on perimeter doors can prevent entry, while on entryways to interior spaces such as classrooms and the library, they may create areas of refuge.
Adding a greater level of security, electronic access control systems also provide monitoring functions. This allows you to keep track of anyone using a lock, as well as monitor the status of doors, ensuring security. Radio frequency fobs are also available, allowing remote lockdown through a panic button feature – the ideal solution for securing classrooms.
Benefits of School Access Control Systems
Whether through PINs, keycard access or tags, access control systems provide greater security in a facility by regulating access, which can have a multitude of benefits, especially in emergency situations.
Quickly and easily lock down a building
In an emergency situation, instead of teachers scrambling to manually lock doors while simultaneously keeping an eye on their students, all doors can lock with the click of a button. RF panic buttons can also lock individual classrooms, preventing access even if the correct credentials are presented from the outside.
Take advantage of access cards
Rather than using traditional physical keys, access control allows you to make use of access cards, which can double as photo-ID. Access to individual access cards can also be remotely and immediately revoked, in the case of theft.
Integration with video surveillance
Ideally, all access control systems in schools should integrate with video surveillance, allowing for someone to keep an eye on any incidents which may occur.
Another major benefit of access control is the ability to see who was where, when. This can be useful for knowing exactly how a system failed, or the best route for evacuation.
Why Choose School Access Control Systems
In this day and age, student safety and school security are of paramount importance. Consider all options , including access control systems. However, take care not to be too heavy-handed. Security companies such as All Campus Security offer a wide range of security solutions, from access control to video surveillance, handling all facets of school security system installation. School administrators should, in every case, consult with certified security professionals to identify the best solution for their facility.