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Summer is time to make K-12 security upgrades




It’s summer and most K-12 classrooms are empty. It’s the ideal time for school administrators and their system integrators to review security preparations and make improvements for the fall.

Take advantage of the break to conduct a campus risk assessment based on expected enrollments and changes that may have occurred over the past school year.

Concentrate on today’s best practices which call for layered security to stop – or at least slow – even the most ardent criminals from entering classroom buildings. Limit visitors to a single entry. Fencing, gates and signage funnel traffic to the appropriate door. Electronic locks and video intercoms play a pivotal role. Acting as a virtual doorbell, the intercom allows visitors to request entry. A receptionist, behind the safety of a locked door, can both view and speak with a visitor before deciding whether to remotely unlock the entry.

Once inside, visitors should produce a government-issued photo ID to swipe through a visitor management system. It takes only seconds for the system to check visitors against criminal and sex offender databases. Schools can also create their own internal watch lists to check for other unwanted visitors, such as disgruntled employees and non-custodial parents.

Schools are also installing basic access control systems for use on dedicated employee entries. Faculty and staff enter by swiping an ID badge through a door-mounted reader or entering a keypad code. These systems often pay for themselves by eliminating the need to rekey locks when keys are lost or stolen.

Properly placed video surveillance cameras – mounted both inside and out – can provide valuable 24/7 real-time and recorded images of criminal activity, other emergencies and liability issues.

Intrusion systems using motion sensors and door and window contacts help protect against break-ins at night, on weekends and holidays. A detected violation can activate alarms, notify a monitoring service, district security or local first responders and start cameras recording.

Each of these security elements is valuable alone. But together they synergistically create a formidable barrier to help keep unwanted visitors away from students, staff and valuable property.

This summer also take time to review and make necessary changes to emergency plans and procedures and train returning staff and new hires. And make sure to trim bushes and trees that may prevent clear views of the school from the street. 

School administrators no longer see security as a nuisance to be tolerated, but rather as a high priority activity for the safety of students and staff and the protection of valuable property.

While the students are enjoying vacation, work with your integrator to make sure your campus security is up-to-date and ready for the first day of class.