Every student deserves to feel safe in his or her school. Unfortunately, we have all seen the news stories about what can happen when an intruder enters. The good news is technology is continuously improving to help stop these trespassers, and there are some strategies to help you as a school administrator to better secure your school’s entrances.
The goal of these best practices is to limit the ways people can enter your building. This will delay intruders, give the police time to respond, and allow you to communicate with teachers and staff. During this time, you can lock down the school and/or evacuate students and faculty, depending on the situation.
Technologies, such as cameras, sensors and access control systems, can help contribute to the overall security of your school.
Here are five ways to enhance the security of the entrances to your school:
- Install HD cameras – You can keep an eye on what’s going on in front of the school as well as around the entire building with a live video stream. Check that your security company offers remote video monitoring services from a 24-hour security command center.
- Install a reliable access control system – Advanced access control systems track employee and visitor movements in and out of your school. They can integrate with video systems to document movements. They are available with a range of security badge options and can be paired with biometric systems for dual verification. You should place access control (card readers) with smart locks on all classroom doors so staff members can remotely secure these doors in the event of a lock down.
- Monitor the front entrance – Teachers, security staff or other school officials should monitor the entrance at the beginning of the school day when the front doors are open so that students can get to class. Any visitors, even regularly ones, should be approached and brought to the main office to check in.
- Electronically monitor all exterior doors – Installing sensors will alert campus staff when a door is left open. This is useful for keeping intruders out, and also for stopping students from exiting the building without permission.
- Use a visitor management system – Software systems can be used to determine whether people are authorized to visit your school. The software can quickly scan and process a visitor’s state issued photo ID and determine, for instance, if the individual is a registered sex offender or even an angry parent with a restraining order. If there’s a problem, a front office staff member can click the “send alert” button to send an instant and discreet alert, i.e., a text message and email, to key personnel identifying the location of the problem. A code sent with the message will alert the receiver as to the nature of the problem. If the system determines the visitor is a sex offender, the individual’s name, physical description and photo will be include in the email.
Putting these security measures in place can help you protect your students, your staff and your school.