The Covid-19 pandemic coupled with increasing violence and aggression on school properties has left parents with worries and unanswered questions about their child’s safety while at school. Fortunately, technology has stepped up to the challenge with new security systems for schools to afford parents and school administrators more peace of mind.
Poor security or a lack of security contributes to an unsafe learning environment. Parents should be aware that security technologies are available, and schools should be encouraged to integrate them into physical properties and daily activities.
During the pandemic, schools went online, so much security discussion and efforts were dedicated to online safety, but now that school has reopened and violent acts have returned, basic school property safety cannot be neglected or underestimated.
New Security Technologies
Parents rightly need to know what happens at school during the day. Doubts, superficial security measures, and sporadic communication can contribute to the erosion of trust that parents place in school administrators and educators. Hence schools need to implement new security measures that advancements in technology have enabled.
Parents need to know what systems are available and should actively encourage school boards to adopt new technologies and implement safety protocols. Here are several technologies already in use.
Access Control and Smart Door Systems
School buildings and properties need locks to discourage intruders. Safety locks should not only be easy to install but easy to use and feature safety characteristics. Wireless door lock systems that permit lockdown capabilities remotely from authorized devices are one option in the event a lockdown should prove necessary.
School security door locks also permit schools to better control access to specific areas like storage closets or offices that should only be accessed by authorized personnel. This can be a vital instrument in protecting expensive science laboratories or computer equipment or specific school property from intrusion, theft, and vandalism. Smart lock technology can integrate access and exit logs in the event auditing becomes necessary.
Access control systems use a variety of methods including biometric recognition, school ID cards that double as access key cards, tablets, smartphones, and wearable electronic devices. Access points should not be left without specific security protocols.
Security Video Management
Schools need CCTV management for all buildings and grounds. This technology is not intended as a surveillance tool but proves especially useful when visitors are present on school properties. Using school cameras can help detect suspicious behavior which allows for these incidents to be dealt with quickly and discreetly. A CCTV system will reduce response time and increase a child’s safety.
All movements by staff, students, or visitors should allow for video monitoring in the event of an emergency, whether a fire or lockdown. In this way, emergency personnel, law enforcement, and fire authorities will be facilitated in protecting and saving lives.
Playground, Sport, and Perimeter Security
School safety is not limited to school buildings. Recess or physical education often requires activity outdoors on school properties. All school property should benefit from new security technologies and video security management. Perimeter alarms with lighting, lighting sensors, sirens, and direct contact with law enforcement are all measures that can protect school property and students.
The installation of sensors on access points like doors and windows will alert authorities to potential problems. These can be integrated with infrared and vibration sensors if deemed necessary. More importantly, the perimeter control of buildings and properties can be integrated with CCTV and access control systems through remote cloud management. In this way, school administrators, law enforcement, emergency personnel, and security personnel can manage collaboratively from a single platform any emergency or perceived danger that arises.
Visitor Management Systems
Schools often have visitors, from parents with potential new students to guests or professional maintenance teams. Visitor management becomes vital for several reasons:
- To keep visitors in specifically designated school areas
- To allow entry based only on credentials and credible motivation for presence on school property
- To ensure visitors should be accompanied by the school or security personnel when on school property
Visitor management systems also will record who comes into the school and when they leave.
Fire Detection and Alarms
Fire detection systems need to include not only traditional manual pull stations but electronic sensors that immediately alert professional fire personnel and induce school personnel to evacuate school buildings and property. This will speed up intervention and place children out of harm’s way more rapidly.
Other Technological Security and Safety Support Systems
Depending on the age and location of your child’s school, there are other technological instruments that can be integrated to further ensure safety and significantly reduce risks. These include:
- Panic buttons strategically placed
- Automatic lockdown protocols from mobile devices
- Gunshot and gun detection sensors
While gun and metal detection are preventative to ensure weapons do not enter a school zone, the installation of panic buttons and mobile device lockdown capabilities are reactive in the event of need. These also, when connected directly with law enforcement and emergency workers, result in rapid response to crisis situations.
Safety Above All
Security can be emotional for parents and educational professionals. Schools need to cater to a positive child-friendly learning environment, but this can no longer leave security considerations out of the formula for achieving one. Security technologies offer parents and educators the possibility to increase safety protocols ten-fold while remaining unobtrusive during daily learning activities.