School security is a subject that strikes close to home for millions of Americans. Each and every day parents send their children to school hoping their experience isn’t interrupted by the kind of violence or chaos that all too often makes national headlines. It is more than just keeping an eye out for potentially tragic situations; it also means keeping the educational environment and students safe from the perils of theft, accidents, and harassment.
A significant portion of the effort to keep kids safe at school involves keeping a watchful eye all of the activities that take place on campus. Security systems that monitor a school’s entry points, the perimeter of its grounds, classrooms and other shared spaces are crucial in helping law enforcement and other emergency personnel respond quickly to an incident. It also allows for less obvious threats, such as patterns of theft or vandalism, to be dealt with using a firm chain of evidence.
Keep in mind that a video surveillance system is only as useful as its ability to keep school security staff in the loop. Camera systems that can wirelessly alert staff of a potential problem, or which can store digital video for easier access later on are far more useful than an unmonitored continuous feed.
Of course, keeping the ‘wrong’ people out of a school without inconveniencing the people who belong on campus — a.k.a. students and staff — is another crucial component of school safety. Access control systems for educational facilities have advanced significantly over the course of the past few years, which means it is easier than ever for administrators to track which individuals have come and gone from what areas of a building. Supplying teachers with access cards or pass-codes takes the guesswork out of who has the keys to what room or annex, and this type of technology can even be put to work as a first line of defense on each of a school’s outer doors. During classroom hours, without a pass card or code there is no reason to allow access to the campus without first asking visitors to sign in for a pass or badge at the front desk.
Selecting the equipment, systems, and strategy for protecting a school and its students from harm can be a challenging task, particularly in the absence of a security partner whose experience can help suggest the best possible course of action for integrating all of the features of a given safety plan. Putting together a team of administrators, staff, and outside experts is the final key to providing schools with the kind of environment that their students deserve.
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