School security used to be focused around keeping the students safe from themselves. Teachers and administrators did most of the security work, scanning the hallways and keeping a close eye on classrooms to ensure that everyone stayed in line. Occasionally, a fight would break out, a student would slip out a side door and cut class, or someone would smuggle in something that was against the rules, but these were the worst things that happened on most average school days.
Modern times are different, and security breaches in schools today pose a different type of threat. Now, parents worry about kidnappings, shootings, and hostage situations. Today more than ever, school security solutions are of the utmost importance to protect students, educators, and visitors to campuses.
It’s Never Too Early for School Security Solutions
Protecting students from security threats doesn’t just start when they enter grade school. Comprehensive security is important from the time they enter nursery school or daycare. At this age, kidnapping is a real concern. Access control devices allow daycare/nursery school staff to only buzz in authorized guests. Entry and exit sensors will sound an alarm should a monitored door or window be unexpectedly opened.
Another potential concern — especially with staff who work with very young children – is the potential liability due to injury or abuse. Video surveillance helps monitor employees to ensure that everyone is operating in a safe and professional manner.
Finally, protecting the physical assets within the building, both people and property, is of the utmost importance. Security and fire detection systems can provide this level of protection.
Security for Grade Schools
When kids enter grades K through 12, access control is still a concern, and most schools now lock all exterior doors during the day in order to only buzz in approved guests through a monitored front entryway. This also allows school administrators to restrict access to certain secure areas, staff break rooms, etc., in order to prevent vandalism, theft, and keep students out of areas where they aren’t allowed.
Video surveillance also comes into play in grade schools. It helps school staff members keep a better eye on what’s happening around the school grounds — whether it’s outside in the parking lot, in the hallways, or in specific classrooms. Should an emergency occur, video cameras provide instant feeds to let rescue personnel know what’s occurring in real-time (rather than them depending on people reporting to them by phone).
Today’s comprehensive school security solutions allow administrators and key decision-makers to always be connected. It enables them to access live video feeds and receive security notifications via their computers and smartphones even when they’re off-campus.
In addition to installing devices to monitor security throughout the school, it’s important for administrators to have an emergency evacuation plan that covers all potential threats, from fires and earthquakes (if the school is located in an earthquake-prone area) to active shooter situations.
Keeping Colleges and Universities Safe
Colleges and universities can be challenging in terms of school security solutions, but today’s technology means that even the most sprawling of campuses can be thoroughly covered. In addition to video surveillance to keep common areas and parking garages safe, colleges need to provide security monitoring for students who live in dormitories on campus. As with grade schools, access control devices can keep certain parts of the campus off-limits to unauthorized guests.
Situational Awareness Security Control (SASC) systems are an excellent idea both for grade schools and college campuses. These systems detect events such as gunshots and send an immediate alert to law enforcement officials. As soon as this happens, instructions are sent to key management and administration. Police and rescue personnel can tap into video camera feeds around the campus, as well. The SASC system is also integrated into access control devices, giving key decision-makers the ability to lock down specific areas if need be.
Another way schools can increase security and stop trouble at the door is with metal detectors. With this advanced security measure, the risk of students, staff, or any other visitor entering the premises with a gun, knife, bomb or other dangerous metallic object is drastically reduced. The metal detectors can be handheld or stationary devices that people walk through. Ideally, the school would close off other entrances so that there is only one way in or out — and that is where the metal detector would be stationed.
Metal detectors give school officials confidence that they’re doing all they can to keep their buildings safe and make students and staff feel more secure. They can also serve as a deterrent — if someone knows they’re going to be checked/searched, they will be far less likely to even try to bring a weapon into the school.
It should be noted, however, that metal detectors — whether handheld or stationary — can be expensive to purchase and install, and both methods require a trained officer(s) to operate them and investigate alerts. Covering multiple entrances (or those that can’t be easily closed), and the time spent and disruption caused by checking every student every day, are other considerations to keep in mind.
Safety in schools may have changed over the years, but thankfully, so has school security solutions. Today’s technology helps keep kids, teachers, and visitors safe so that everyone can focus on fun, learning, and the things that really matter.
At ProTech Security, we have a strong history of experience, innovation, and customer service. The ProTech Security Advantage is more than 30 years of service in Northeast Ohio and a strong commitment to providing quality, cost-effective protection for homes, businesses, educational institutions and government facilities. To see what ProTech Security can do for you, contact us today.