Unfortunately, students and teachers today could be faced with a multitude of dangers at any given time at school. From break-ins and shootings to cyberbullying and digital security threats, the growing list of dangers seems to be getting worse every year. On the bright side of this grim situation, however, we have good news regarding school safety and security solutions for this day and age.
There are many technological advancements geared towards increasing school security and keeping students safe. After all, school safety is a huge topic that encompasses a lot of different types of technology – video surveillance, access control, visitor management, fire systems, alarms, mass notification, etc. The list goes on.
While the needs of school districts vary, there are some major categories of technology that can make a difference in any K-12 district (or college campus, too) regardless of its location or size. These technologies help schools detect and deter threats and maintain essential lines of communication in the event of an emergency. So, what solutions specifically are we talking about? Information Transport Solutions, Inc. (ITS), a Uniti company, is here to give you the inside scoop on today’s top-of-the-line school safety and security solutions.
School Safety and Security: The Technologies
School districts need to work with not only information tech industry experts but also with other districts to stay up to date on what technologies are high performers and what will work best for them. Each district needs to assess its specific risks, and then determine which technologies will best meet its needs. Districts should consider the following technologies when assessing their schools:
Campus-Wide Emergency Alert Systems
Since personal tech like cellphones, laptops, and tablets have been making more and more of an appearance on school campuses these days, they’re now a major player in increasing school safety.
Most campuses are using automatically generated text alerts (or calls or emails) that can be sent to teachers, students, and parents in the event of an emergency. This school safety technology can warn the masses of danger and boost the chances that students can escape a bad situation in virtually an instant.
Similarly, many schools and college campuses have opted to install panic buttons in classrooms that can automatically notify emergency responders, campus security, sound an alarm, and trigger a warning message to the school’s administration. Likewise, with the ever-growing presence of digital message boards on and around school campuses, campus alert messaging systems are further able to be displayed campus-wide in merely an instant – allowing more parties to be directly notified of a breach in safety and/or security.
Access Control Systems
These days, 93 percent of schools control the access (entrance and exit points) to their buildings during school hours, including locking and monitoring entrances. Except for the main entrance, doors should not be accessible from the outside throughout the day. Today, technology allows schools the ability to secure their main entrance with a camera, intercom, and buzzer-controlled door systems.
For example, many schools are going a step further than just having “fire only” emergency exit doors with access control and security systems. Converting the less used doors to allow emergency exits only and funneling students to either one or two well-monitored entry points can make it more difficult for suspicious people to enter a school building.
ID Card Access
Another access control tactic is electronic access to the building for students, teachers, and staff. Electronic control is much safer and more effective than traditional key access. While many schools have this sort of access control at the main entrance, few have key card access available at side entrances or anywhere in the building.
If a teacher or student loses an electronic key card, that card can automatically be deactivated so anyone who may find the card cannot enter the building. A new ID card could then be printed and issued. If a traditional key were to be lost, the lock would need to be changed and new keys issued for everyone. Electronic access control could help create tighter access within school campuses.
Security Camera Installation
Over 90 percent of K-12 schools report having security cameras and video surveillance equipment installed on campuses. Even more, half of the schools without security cameras plan to purchase cameras within the next three years.
Video surveillance equipment is used at school entrances as a part of a controlled access system as well as throughout campuses to monitor everything from theft to violent behavior.
Operating in an age with strict safety demands, dwindling budgets, and facilities/students spread across large or multiple campuses throughout the educational industry, the monitoring of such enterprises brings with it special challenges.
Ensuring safety among all, while simultaneously reducing vandalism to valuable industry properties, is of maximum importance. ITS’s video surveillance security solutions provide our clients with an easy-to-use management initiative and surveillance software that provides a solution which capitalizes on the efficiency of existing infrastructure.
At ITS, some of the key features of our video surveillance solutions for schools include:
- Easy setup and management system
- User-friendly monitoring and investigations information
- Multi-system growth and management of surveillance system with access and visibility across all campuses (from anywhere)
- Supports more video cameras with less hardware
- Customer support for access and control
Social Media Scanning Software
Social software may be used by schools to prevent cyber bullying or school violence by detecting it before it happens. Certain technology software now has the ability to “latch” onto the back of students’ social media accounts once they opt in to the service. It then scans posts against a proprietary database and alerts school officials to messages that pertain to school violence, suicide, or cyber bullying.
The goal of implementing social media scanning software is to allow the school to intervene before anything serious occurs. Tools like this have been used to successfully prevent teen suicide and school violence.
There’s Still More to Learn
At ITS, we do our VERY best to stay at the forefront of school safety and security technology to ensure we can provide schools throughout the nation with comprehensive ways to improve school security.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about the school safety technologies we offer. We’re here and ready to assist you in bringing your district’s safety and security measures to the next level.