Where a district needs to start with physical security upgrades depends largely on individual school buildings. Older buildings may need a complete security overhaul, while newer buildings are being designed with today’s physical security technologies in mind.
There are a few key elements of physical security school districts must consider as part of their strategy. Access control, vaping sensors, weapon detection and mass communication (including communications with law enforcement) are some of the areas where districts can introduce tech to enhance physical security.
Of these, access control is the most crucial to build into a school’s security infrastructure, with numerous technologies available to help keep buildings of any age protected.
Trends in Access Control Strategies and Technologies
Technology is a big piece of threat mitigation and target hardening, which refers to making it harder for an intruder to access a facility. As a whole, access control involves limiting access to a building and then knowing who is inside and where they are.
These measures largely start with door security. Newer buildings are commonly built with double vestibules as a method of access control, but there are other technologies schools can install to make any building safer. These include network video, door stations and sensors that know when doors are open. The sensors can alert designated staff members when doors are propped open, to prevent uninterrupted access to the building.
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Technology is also used to identify students, staff and visitors — everyone from parents to delivery people. This helps school personnel track who is inside the building. Newer technologies, such as face recognition and license plate readers, can offer insight into a visitor’s location. This can help in the event of an emergency and, if available, should be noted in communications to law enforcement.
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Generally, any school network will be able to support these physical security technologies, provided the bandwidth is available, and schools typically don’t see pushback from the school board or community. Parents want their children to be safe in school, and access control technology can provide a solution to that end.
This article is part of the “ConnectIT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology” series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #ConnectIT hashtag.