Many schools have their own security measures to protect both the staff and students before, during, and after classes. Some of these measures are interior cameras that have views of the halls, metal detectors, and locker searches. These are all designed to catch unauthorized entries and contraband, but they do not stop other threats from entering the school. As the safety of most schools decreases from intruders, active shooters, and other outside threats, the need for additional security increases. Here are 10 ways to improve a schools’ entrance security.
1. Single Point Entry
When school begins and ends each day, there is heavy foot traffic that comes in and out of the building. Having multiple entries and exit ways increases the chance of a breach of security. The best solution for this issue is to have a single point of entry. Limiting the number of entrances and exits in the building increases a monitors’ concentration on the one or two entrances. That way, trespassers and possible contraband are more likely to be noticed and are less likely to get into the building.
2. Staff Monitoring
Besides getting into fights, the children can be susceptible to other unsafe occurrences such as kidnapping before they enter or exit the school. By assigning teachers to watch the halls and the parking lot while the kids leave or enter the building, any incidents are less likely to happen, more likely to be noticed right away if they do happen, and can be responded to accordingly. This can be even more effective if some or all of them carry radios to notify each other.
3. Visitor Management
Allowing a possible assailant into the building is a risk when it comes to visitors entering the school. An older method to deter this is a paper-based visitor management. After several school breaches like Sandy Hook, new computerized visitor management systems have been put in place. These systems can detect false student, staff, and government identification. They can also alert the staff if the visitor is on the sex offender registry and can check the state and federal databases for possible criminal information.
4. Reinforced Double Door Entry
When thinking of the safety of every person in the school, you can not rule out the option of a reinforced double door entry. It allows for an extra barrier between a possible trespasser and every person, student or staff. These reinforced doors are designed to be tamper resistant and lock electronically quickly in cases like an active shooter situation. All of this is designed to stop an intruder at the door before they can enter and keep them out.
5. Window glazing
Along with door reinforcement, window glazing is meant to prevent intruders from entering the school. The windows are glazed with a special material that makes the glass resistant to breakage, but it does not make it impossible, just harder. This is an extra measure to ensure that an intruder can not enter the school by breaking a window after the doors are locked and the school is put on lockdown.
6. Door monitoring
When class starts and the teachers are not there to monitor the halls or entryways, it can leave the school open to a breach if a door was not closed completely. Electronic door monitoring can prevent this. Sensors called DPS (door position switches) are built into the door frame. When the door is not closed, it can be seen on a system. The sensors are tamper proof and are programmed to accommodate class changes or other needs and times.
7. Panic buttons
Like fire alarms, panic alarms alert staff and student in emergency situations. However, they are particular in the case of a specific incident like a shooter or intruder who is inside of the school. They are also programmed to call 911 and/or notify local police. Some even have sound monitoring systems that, when pressed, allows emergency responders to listen to the area. These buttons are placed in or around the front office, where the intruder is most likely to try and enter from. Recently, there are designs that allow portable buttons to be worn by staff or school security.
8. Security Cameras and Intercom Systems
Having security cameras installed around the school and at its main entrance adds an extra layer of protection by identifying those who are about to or are trying to enter the school. It also allows the staff to see if the visitor matches the description on their ID and keeps a record of anyone coming in or out of the building that might be beneficial to the police, should they need it. An intercom system allows the staff and person to confirm the visitors’ identity without compromising the security.
9. Access Control
An access system is like a computer log of everyone who has entered the school. It keeps a record of who came in, when they came in, and when they left. This lets the staff confirm if a visitor is still in the building after they should have left. The system can also be programmed so that the staff cannot enter the building past certain hours. It can also control if someone can or cannot be allowed through a door based on if they have the clearance.
10. Security Staff
Teachers are usually trained to break up a fight between kids, but not to handle an intruder or active shooter. That is why having a security staff is recommended and necessary. The security staff is specifically trained to handle dangerous and stressful situations quickly and effectively. Some have prior military or police experience that can reassure both student and staff alike.
There are several security companies that can accompany most if not all of these measures. Invision Security Group is one of them. Our services help to prevent harmful school situations like active shooters, intruders, theft, and vandalism. With over 15 years of experience in the industry, ISG’s family-owned organization has been providing schools, businesses, and residents with the high-quality security software and devices. After the installation, our 24/7 customer support is available for any new and existing customer.