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Securing K-12 schools comprehensively




Taking a serious look at improving existing classroom and campus security for k-12 institutions is necessary to protect students, staff, and property from a multitude of threats, including intruders and mass shooters. To really address student and faculty safety and upgrade campus security, decision-makers must consider the hardening of all school areas. From the main entrance and emergency exits to classrooms, libraries, and cafeterias, there are now comprehensive access control solutions that can, successfully, safeguard perimeter, exterior, and interior openings.

Types of emergency

The type of incident is critical to acknowledge when implementing access control solutions in schools. For instance, crime and vandalism require that the entry function of school doors prevent unauthorized entry. Moreover, in this case, the exit of intruders should be slowed or averted, if police are called.

However, entry and exit functions should be differentiated when there is a fire. In this scenario, the entry of firefighters and rescue personnel must be easily allowed and the occupant egress to the exterior from all occupied spaces should be rapidly granted.

Further, active shooter emergencies call for tamper-proof doors, rapid lockdowns, and the speedy entry of first responders; all while preventing perpetrators from barricading themselves and/or holding hostages in a classroom or other school area.

Perimeter and exterior doors

A safe school starts with a secure perimeter, which includes primary and secondary entrances. Ideally, perimeter protection deters or prevents criminals from entering the campus. Extending access control to perimeter openings and secondary entrances can be accomplished with advanced retrofit devices that are both efficacious and economical. Advanced access control provides greater security features:

  • Remote locking for a centralized lockdown
  • Door status remote monitoring in real-time
  • Wireless connection to a first-class access control software solution
  • Integrated wireless and offline mode
  • Remote scheduling for locking and unlocking
  • Streamlined design
  • Seamless integration
  • Cost-effective (reduced wiring and labor expenses)

Perimeter locks must be certified for outdoor use, and fully sealed and coated for waterproof resistance. Depending on the location of the school, they could even be required to be windstorm rated.

Each exterior door (cafeteria, auditorium, or front office vestibules) performs a specific function that must be carefully accommodated by your security integrator when designing and installing a unified access control system. Nonetheless, every door must effectively control access, while allowing for free egress from the inside.


For decades, classroom security has been inadequate. By utilizing mechanical locks, in the event of a school lockdown, the teacher is supposed to open the door, step into the hallway, lock the door, step back inside the classroom, and close the door. Undeniably, this time-consuming process exposes children and teachers unnecessarily to potentially dangerous situations.

A poor way to solve this dilemma was to keep the door latch locked at all times. However, this recommendation allowed students, in unsupervised classrooms, to lock others out. If the room was empty and the teacher forgot her key, it also posed a series of issues. For instance, interrupting other classes to gain a way in or going to administration for the master key, all while losing valuable instructional time.

There is a better way to secure students and teachers in classrooms. Wireless readers offer elegant and keyless access control, fast integration into managed systems, long-term performance due to the utilization of highly durable materials, compatibility, and most importantly, enhanced security for everybody on campus.

Administrative areas

It is key to consider administrative offices separately, as they often use glass door installations to allow staff to conveniently monitor students. These doors represent an important investment schools make to improve the appearance of the building. Therefore, the aesthetics of the solution should be evaluated to not compromise the look of the door. A good option are electromagnetic locks since they can be easily mounted with glass door brackets, and do not have visible wires.

In an electromagnetic lock, the magnetic field secures the door and electronically controls when doors are locked or unlocked. However, if the power goes off, the door will be unlocked. This device can also be used in doors that require a basic or inexpensive level of access control.

In order to elevate k-12 school security, all areas within campus should be recognized, assessed, and properly protected with the latest access control technologies.

Don't wait for the unexpected

Contact us now to explore how our advanced access control systems can fortify your K-12 institution. Our team of experts will guide you in designing a tailored security plan that addresses your specific needs and ensures the safety of students, staff, and property.