Ways to Improve Safety With Access Control for Schools
It’s hard to imagine a more critical security application than keeping our schools safe. Well-designed access controls for schools go a long way in keeping students and educators secure so that education stays on track.
CLASS ACT: SMARTER ACCESS CONTROLS FOR SCHOOLS
Schools should be safe places but unfortunately the threats against them are multiplying. K-12 schools have been the scene of horrific mass shootings in recent years while serious threats of gun violence occur almost daily. What’s more, students, faculty, staff, and administrators face a range of other security challenges, from bullying to information theft.
Let’s take a look at the primary security threats facing schools today and then consider some ways that modern, connected, and well-implemented access systems can help make our educational facilities more secure.
MAJOR THREATS TO OUR SCHOOLS
Schools are busy, dynamic, and highly accessible environments, making them vulnerable to attack. School administrators and management staff face a number of serious and growing threats. These include:
- Gun violence, including mass shootings, interpersonal conflict, and gang activity
- Weapons and other contraband, including knives and drugs
- Vandalism, increasingly driven by organized social media movements
- Theft of school equipment and the personal property of staff or students
- Information access, including illegal access to grades, tests, and personal details of students or staff.
Preventing and controlling these threats and their consequences is challenging and expensive. Drills, false alarms, and lockdowns disrupt learning and increase anxiety among students and staff.
But modern, integrated electronic access control systems offer schools powerful, cost-effective tools to manage and mitigate many of these security threats.
UNDERSTANDING SCHOOL ACCESS CONTROL SYSTEMS
A comprehensive access control system limits who can enter buildings or specific areas at particular times. Modern school access controls can be configured to include many features:
An integrated access control system is managed from a single central point. Multiple entrances to the property and potentially hundreds of interior doors can be controlled from a single server and interface. Every door or access point can be instantly locked or unlocked remotely from the central control point.
Electronic access control systems allow approved individuals to access areas of the building or campus they need to with electronic access cards or fobs. Credentials and access privileges can be instantly changed, extended, or revoked as required—rather than having to issue and control potentially hundreds of keys and replace locks when they are lost or stolen.
You can maximize security by allowing certain doors to be unlocked only at specific times. School buildings need only be accessible to most users during school hours and classroom doors can remain locked except when students change classes. Access to offices or server rooms can be limited over weekends and vacations.
In the event of a campus-wide security threat, Richmond Security provides systems that allow entire facilities to be locked down at the touch of a button. This instantly seals all exterior access points and locks internal doors as required. Individual access privileges are suspended and cards or fobs are disabled while law enforcement responds to the threat.
FIRST RESPONDER ACCESS
Police, paramedics, and firefighters retain the ability to get into buildings using all access cards or fobs issued to them or that are stored in a secured Knox Box outside building entrances. Richmond Security works closely with our clients to tailor emergency access procedures to their needs.
Integrated access control systems allow servers to maintain a record of who accessed which areas, providing a valuable “audit trail” for authorities and investigators. Richmond Security’s access control experts warn that unauthorized access to sensitive information, like students’ personal details, poses a particular threat to schools.
The full potential of your school access control system is unlocked when it’s combined with integrated video surveillance.
Richmond Security recommends using video surveillance to ensure access cards are being used only by the assigned people. Video also allows for the vetting of visitors, vendors, and maintenance staff prior to entering secured areas of the school.
GETTING STARTED WITH ACCESS CONTROL
Whether you’re preparing a proposal or already have funding in place for upgrading your school access infrastructure, installing an access control system starts with a comprehensive sof your security needs.
Richmond Security works with clients to assess specific security needs across the school facility. These include:
- Electronic locks: How many doors need to be secured? Can existing equipment be integrated with an access control system?
- Wiring: How easily can doors be wired into your access control system backbone? What are the typical distances from doors to existing data infrastructure?
- Connectivity: Do you have enough I.P. addresses to support ethernet or internet-based connections? How easy is it to tie into existing school servers or connect to remote infrastructure managed by the school district or county?
- Critical pathways: Richmond Security works with you to integrate emergency access and evacuation pathways into your access control plan. Getting first responders in and students out quickly is just as important as being able to effectively lock down a facility.
RICHMOND SECURITY: YOUR SCHOOL SECURITY PARTNER
At Richmond Security, we understand that every school is different. We design access control systems that target your school’s particular security concerns. Our technology is designed to provide robust protection against unwanted intruders while giving rapid access to paramedics, firefighters, and other first responders.
We are committed to providing effective security for students, faculty, and staff while providing peace of mind for managers and administrators. Click below to learn more about how Richmond Security can fulfill your school access control needs.