School Security: Promoting A Safer School, Part 1
published on March 04, 2015 by Jon Ecker
You shouldn’t need a security incident as reason to assess your school’s security. In today’s world, creating a safer school encompasses more than door locks and hallway cameras. A comprehensive security plan considers all incidents and accounts for them through awareness and better security technology. By understanding more about your site and surrounding premises, you are in a better position to exercise proactive control, rather than reacting to a security risk that could have been prevented.
As a facility manager or administrator, there are many ways to improve your school’s security, but the tips below are a good place to begin exercising more control over a safer environment:
- Conduct an on-site safety assessment.
Develop a better security plan by performing a site walkthrough and identify all exit and entry points. Are all exits clearly labeled? Is material (for example, stones, pebbles, door stoppers, etc.) blocking doors? A few other aspects of any safety audit, as identified by Campus Safety Magazine, include: Where do line-of-sight issues exist? Are playgrounds and athletic fields monitored? How do visitors enter the facility? How do occupants and visitors move through the facility, and how do you control the flow? Understanding the flow of traffic as well as who has access to certain spaces helps you protect assets and guard the premises.
- Go beyond securing the front door.
Today, there’s much more to access control than locks and alarms on primary and perimeter doors. Access control features have been expanded to include lockdown mechanisms and wireless locks on entry portals and classroom doors. The better and more integrated the security technology, the tighter the visitor management. For example, visitors picking up students may be pre-registered in a searchable database before entering the building and given a visitor pass with a time limit to restrict access to certain areas.
- Leave paper recordkeeping in the past.
Exchange your old methods of manual data entry and recording student attendance by hand for IP-based tools that increase efficiency and accuracy. For example, time and attendance management software creates immediate and customizable reports by class, student, time of arrival and other details. Leverage new and emerging school security technology, like GPS tracking and RFID chips, to know where students are at all times.
- Embrace the Big Brother attitude of constant surveillance.
To promote a safe school, you need to have eyes on everything at all times. Security cameras should have clear lines of sight inside stairwells and throughout hallways to prevent and capture potential incidents, while the exterior of the building requires constant monitoring to guard against graffiti, accidents and vandalism to school property.
Recent trends suggest schools need to take security more seriously. But taking strides towards a safer school isn’t a trend. According to an article in Security System News, the most successful schools have adopted a “culture of security awareness” where everyone – security guards, staff and students – has a responsibility for promoting a safer school.