Hit The Books On High Tech School Security

Oct. 27, 2008

Dear Readers:

The violent school shootings of the 1990s, most notably Columbine, sent shock waves throughout the educational community. Everyone from school superintendents to politicians suddenly put “school safety” on the top of the agenda. However, recent school violence which involves a new breed of intruder outside the student body, is uncovering some of the failures of schools to implement the most basic safety measures needed to provide a secure environment.

The incidents remind dealers it is a good time to contact school officials to review security issues related to access control, perimeter protection, video, alarm and fire systems. Security and the associated new technologies available in crime prevention have considerably advanced since Columbine.

School officials alone cannot provide safe schools. Prepared schools will train teachers and support staff, evaluate and refine security plans and test school crisis plans. The other important tool, which is where you come in, is the implementation of electronic security solutions. Even if security measures are in place, dealers should constantly review your school clients’ security procedures, as well as testing and servicing the equipment.

Provide special attention to perimeter security and access control issues. In many schools, for example, lost and/or duplicated keys have led to theft or other problems with unauthorized visitors. In such cases, alternative entry-control devices should be considered. You may want to suggest the use of smart cards where each card can be tailored to an individual’s access requirements.

Smart cards can be instantly cancelled in case of card loss or theft. Users can be issued access cards, coded to allow entry only for certain days or hours. Parking lot access can be controlled, allowing students to enter and exit only before and after school. The cards can also serve as identity and debit cards.

Have clearly defined perimeters for schools through the use of fences, gates and other professional security measures. Again, security technology can be utilized for providing supervision and monitoring of parking lots and outside areas, as well as the interior of the facility. Advances in video surveillance and digital technology allow for remote monitoring and highly intelligent systems to be deployed at today’s schools.

Your job does not end with a new equipment install, however. Maintenance must be addressed. As a member of the community it is your obligation to make sure all the security systems present in a school are working properly. Make sure that the public address system is fully functioning. Test the fire and alarm systems.
Be a public safety advocate and go to the head of the class when it comes to school security.