From the time we drop our kids off at daycare to the day we help them pack and watch them drive off to college, we worry about their safety. And why not? Nursery schools, grade schools, and colleges can all be targets of any number of incidents from kidnapping to burglary or sexual assault. In recent years, active shooter situations have also emerged as a terrifying new threat to our kids’ safety.
This is why all organizations that care for young people must be proactive about safety and work to design a compressive school security system. Properly designed and used, these systems can keep unauthorized persons out, deter criminal activity, and provide live monitoring of the situation should an incident occur.
The Keys to Selecting the Right School Security System
Keeping our kids safe starts from the very beginning when they’re in the care of the staff at daycares and nursery schools across the country. Nursery school security systems have two areas of emphasis: keeping unauthorized persons out, as well as making the day run more smoothly for facility personnel who are working hard to care for dozens of little ones.
Having their child abducted from a daycare is every parent’s worst nightmare. Such incidents are rare, and this is in part because most daycare and nursery school security systems include measures that prevent strangers or unauthorized family members from entering a facility or signing a child out.
Automated door locks and access control systems are one of the most important aspects of a nursery school security system. These require staff or guests to gain access with a code, a key card, or to be buzzed in by personnel. This kind of system eliminates the concern of staff members forgetting to secure a door or little ones unlocking it from within. Entry and exit sensors, alarms, and notifications are an added step that daycares can take to draw attention to anyone coming or going from the building.
Video monitoring has multiple benefits. First, it helps daycare staff keep tabs on everything happening inside and outside the building. Next, it deters any dangerous or unlawful activity. It’s also an essential tool for piecing things together should some sort of an incident occur.
Finally, a nursery school security system should tie into modern technology that makes opening and closing the business easier each day. In addition to automatic locks, automatic lights and smart thermostats can all be activated with a touch of a single button from a central control panel or a smartphone. After a long day of keeping track of the under-five crowd, anything that makes life easier for daycare staff is a huge plus.
As kids get older, security strategies move into protecting them not just from outside threats, but from the violence that can occur within the student population itself. Although we’d like to think of violence and other serious incidents at school as rare occurrences, in a 2015-16 study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 79 percent of public schools reported that some type of violence, theft, or other crime had happened on their campus during the school year.
Add to this a growing concern over school shootings and we see why grade school security is a serious matter. A comprehensive school security system does more than just document events as they take place; it can also act as a deterrent, as well as put in place life-saving safety and emergency procedures should the unthinkable occur.
Grade school security should be comprised of actively controlling who goes where on the property as well as monitoring and communicating the current situation on campus. The first step in designing a school security system is installing access control to determine who can gain entry to specific areas at certain times of the day. This includes locked entry doors through which visitors must be buzzed in by staff. It might also include locks on classroom doors that can be activated throughout the school in the event of a situation involving an active shooter.
Monitoring all areas of a school campus is also essential. Video surveillance gives administrators tabs on what’s happening everywhere on the campus – whether it’s ensuring that students are behaving and everything is running as it should or understanding what steps need to be taken to address an emergency. Live video feeds can be accessed and monitored by rescue personnel so if an incident does occur, they know the best way to respond.
Should any emergency event occur, a grade school security system will send notifications, including audio and visual alerts, to administrators, as well as alerting the authorities. All staff and students should be well-versed on the school’s emergency evacuation plans so that those can be put into action immediately. When a school security system is combined with proper planning, lives can be saved and injuries averted even in the most serious of incidents.
College Security Systems: Higher Safety for Higher Education
When kids go off to college, worries about safety and security follow them. From active shooter situations to crime on campus, college security systems can help ensure that students are free to focus on studying instead of worrying about violence or other unexpected incidents while at school.
According to the NCES, there were 27,500 criminal incidents reported on college campuses in 2015 alone. Common on-campus crimes reported to police are things such as burglary, motor vehicle theft, as well as forcible sex offenses. Quite often, these kinds of crimes can be deterred or prevented outright by monitored college security systems.
The first step colleges must take when designing their school security system is securing common areas. These areas include walkways, outdoor green spaces, parking lots, and other areas where students move in between classes or gather to study and hang out. Outdoor spaces need to feature ample lighting to make them secure at night. A visible security presence is also a must to keep students safe – both in terms of security personnel and commercial video surveillance. These are also excellent ideas for creating safer parking garages, as this is another area where students can be easily targeted and victimized.
Residence halls and other campus buildings also need to be included when considering college security system design. Dormitories should feature access control systems that allow registered students into their residence hall while preventing unauthorized entry. Video surveillance can also help ensure that these areas are kept safer.
Should an emergency such as an active shooter situation take place, Situational Awareness Security Control (SASC) systems can be integrated into your college security system to provide an immediate response to the situation. SASC systems have technology such as gunshot detection that sends the system into action, notifying law enforcement and providing key information on what’s occurring on the ground (such as live audio and video streams of the event as it unfolds). SASC systems can even allow law enforcement to directly engage with an assailant through an audio feed.
Today’s college security systems truly give administrators and rescue personnel an unprecedented ability to keep a watch over their campuses and students like never before.
Are School Metal Detectors Necessary?
With increased worries about on-campus crime and school shootings, the use of school metal detectors is on the rise. Campuses are utilizing them in order to reduce the risk of students bringing guns, knives, explosives, or other dangerous items into the school. This has a lot of schools asking questions about the pros and cons of metal detectors and if the devices are more hassle than they’re worth.
School metal detectors do have some very real benefits. In addition to alerting staff when a student is carrying some sort of a weapon, they act as an effective deterrent to students who may be thinking about bringing a dangerous item to school. Metal detectors also provide peace of mind so that students can focus on learning with the knowledge that everyone on campus has been screened for weapons. While stationary metal detectors require everyone to walk through them, handheld devices can be deployed to conduct random sweeps throughout the school.
Among the cons of installing metal detectors are the perception that the school has entered into a sort of “police state.” Some parents and students are uncomfortable with this sort of screening. Even districts where the majority of people are on board with the metal detectors may not be able to install them due to expense – both of the equipment itself and to pay people to operate them. The state of South Carolina estimated that it would cost $14.4 million up front and then $98.3 million annually to staff the devices if they installed metal detectors at all of their public schools.
While metal detectors can be useful tools that are appropriate in some instances, they can’t replace a comprehensive school security system. In a world where new threats are constantly emerging, these systems help keep our kids safe, watched over, and protected – no matter their age.
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.