Keeping students and staff safe at school is of the utmost importance. No school administrator wants any student, faculty member or staff member to feel unsafe at any point in the school day.
However, school security systems have a number of unique challenges.
- There are a variety of different levels of personnel at schools, including administrators, teachers, janitors and substitute teachers, meaning there will be a number of different access rights.
- Schools frequently welcome visitors of all kinds, each of whom presents unique challenges.
- Modern security threats, including gun violence and terrorism, mean school security directors must constantly evolve.
- School facilities can be extremely large and spread across multiple campuses, making them hard to manage.
With challenges like those listed above (and more), it's no wonder that even the idea of considering a school access control system is enough to make an administrator's head spin.
However, selecting a modern access control system for your school is one of the smartest investments an educational institution can make.
With budget season for schools in full swing, now is the time to consider bringing your security system into the modern age and creating a safer learning environment in the process.
It's time to modernize your school security system
Many of today's schools have done a good job of securing the exterior of their facilities, also known as perimeter entries. It makes sense that these are areas of focus, as they're what separate the school from the outside world.
These entrances are normally locked throughout the school day, and the ones that aren't locked are monitored by a staff member.
However, today's schools could be doing so much more to secure their classrooms, hallways and campuses. The days of relying on lock-and-key security are over, and school access control systems are easy to manage, high-tech and secure.
Here are five reasons your school should upgrade.
1. Going key-less makes things easier on your teachers and staff.
As we said above, many of today's schools are still relying on physical keys for access, whether it's access to the school itself or to a supply closet.
Physical keys work fine, it's true. However, issuing physical keys can be cumbersome when you need a different key for every door. A teacher at a school using physical keys may have a key for her classroom, a key for the teacher's lounge, a key for the supply closet...that's a lot of keys!
By using a school access control system, your teachers and staff members can use a single access card to gain access to every area of your facility.
In fact, your school can make smart ID badges that both identify the staff member and grant access, limiting the number of things your staff members have to carry.
Access control systems allow your administrator to custom-tailor access rights as well: give your teachers access to the teacher's lounge and supply room, but not the janitor's closet; give the janitor access to all rooms except for the supply closet, etc.
Staff members will appreciate this streamlined approach.
2. A multi-building system can be managed from a single location.
One of the hardest aspects of managing security at a large school is keeping tabs on multiple buildings.
If a teacher loses keys to his or her office in Building A but your security office is in Building B, the teacher will have to wait until security can arrive to be let into the office.
The same situation causes problems in the case of an alarm: if you have a multi-building campus and hear an alarm going off, it may take a few minutes for your personnel to figure out exactly which door is causing the alarm.
With a school access control system, you can manage every door in your system from a central location, making things a lot easier on your staff.
Today's access control systems offer multi-location management, meaning you can control a door in Building C from the security office across the property or across the country.
This drastically cuts down on incident response times and can also decrease the number of staff members you need to have on-site: instead of having an officer in every building, for example, you can have a single officer monitoring the system from your security office.
3. Systems can integrate with surveillance video for additional security.
One of the pitfalls of surveillance camera systems is that they do a great job of keeping an eye on things, but that's about it.
For example, if you have a CCTV surveillance system at your school and someone broke in overnight, your security officers may have to go back and watch hours of tape to figure out how the thief got inside the building.
With a modern access control system, you can integrate your surveillance video equipment with the system itself for a powerful, multi-faceted security solution.
Combining access control and surveillance cameras has a number of benefits. First, your system can be set up to record video every time a door is opened, giving you a visual record of a person entering or exiting a room.
For example, if someone stole something from your computer lab between 3:00 and 4:00 PM, your access control system will have a record of every card that was scanned during that time.
With integrated surveillance video, that record will have a video attached.
This gives you evidence that the cardholder was the perpetrator, or may show someone else in possession of a stolen credential.
By combining an access control system and a surveillance video system, you're taking two powerful tools and making them even more powerful.
4. Lockdown your entire school with the press of a button.
Unfortunately, many of today's students and teachers worry about threats that should never cross one's mind at a school. The reality of today's world forces worries about school shooting, violent intruders and terrorism.
Aside from causing stress and anxiety, worrying about these things takes away from the learning environment of a school as well.
No school should completely ignore these threats, and every school should have some kind of plan in place. Most schools have some sort of lockdown procedure, where students and staff shelter in place until a threat is lifted.
However, this often involves personnel gathering in a room that needs to be manually locked. This potentially puts people at risk, as personnel may have to approach a door in order to lock it.
School access control systems are capable of locking down an entire building or campus with the press of a button, creating an instantly secure environment without putting people at risk.
5. Dynamic Mapping allows you to zero in on the source of an issue.
As we stated in reason #2 above, many schools are sprawling campuses that are nearly impossible to manage without a good software solution.
One problem is that without an access control system, a school security team can struggle to zero in on the location of an issue.
A basic access control system will tell you that an alarm is going off. A GREAT access control system will show you the exact location of the alarm, and may even be able to show you video of the last time the door was opened.
Dynamic Mapping is a feature that does what it sounds like: it maps the location of the various locks and doors in your system, and presents them to you in an easy-to-follow manner.
If there's an issue, Dynamic Mapping will show you what the issue is and where it's located, making it easier for your security team to respond quickly.
Purchasing a school security system is no small undertaking — we know, we've been helping schools get them installed for years. The first step toward adding access control at your school is an assessment of your site and its unique needs.
Contact us for a free consultation with a member of our team. We'll discuss your pain points, address any potential issues and recommend a solution — all with no obligation.