While emergency preparedness is undoubtedly a necessity, it is by no means the only important factor in school security systems. It is equally crucial to address the day-to-day incidents that occur within school premises.
Schools represent a cross-section of society and, as such, have to be prepared to deal with the same safety issues that society faces. Everything from relatively minor incidents to substance abuse and theft has to be addressed.
To achieve a secure learning environment a comprehensive approach to school safety is essential. Here, we discuss why school safety is not just a matter of emergency preparedness.
The Importance of Addressing Non-Emergency Events
Touch wood, but a teacher can quite happily go through a whole career without encountering a natural disaster or emergency event of any great significance. The same cannot be said of non-emergency events. These are something that schools face daily and as a matter of course.
These non-emergency events can take many forms, but common among them are:
- Fights between students.
- Contraband and substance misuse.
- Misuse of school property
Security staff and systems must be robust and versatile enough to deal with the day-to-day events that unfold within school premises as much as they are prepared for worst-case scenario emergencies.
Essential Components of a Robust School Security System
Security staff are at the core of all robust security systems. These represent the “feet on the ground” that respond to the incidents.
However, it is important to recognize that even the most skilled and prepared security personnel can benefit greatly from the integration of physical security components within the school security infrastructure.
These components not only enhance the speed and effectiveness of a security team's response but also serve as proactive deterrents to potential incidents.
It wasn’t that long ago that monitoring CCTV cameras involved security personnel squinting at banks of TV screens showing grainy footage. Modern business video surveillance systems not only record HD footage but can also feature:
- AI-Informed Cameras: These do the monitoring for security teams and smart technology paired with noise level detectors can detect where crowds are forming and alert security teams.
- Intelligent Video Analytics: Cameras can analyze behavior patterns and use techniques like facial recognition, object detection, license plate recognition, and more to alert security staff.
- Remote Monitoring and Mobile Access: Security personnel can access live camera feeds and recorded footage from their mobile devices or through a centralized monitoring station.
The flexibility and versatility of modern surveillance cameras make them an integral part of school security systems.
Access Control Systems
The old-fashioned lock and key served us well for centuries. But modern access control systems take the concept of locked-door security to the next level and beyond. Keypad access control systems are increasingly deployed to protect and secure classroom and staff areas, primarily to prevent the misuse of equipment.
Some of the features of modern access control systems include:
- Biometric Authentication: Users can gain access through fingerprint or facial recognition, enhancing security and preventing unauthorized entry.
- Multi-Factor Authentication: Systems can require multiple forms of authentication, such as a combination of a key card and a PIN, further enhancing security levels.
- Emergency Lockdown: In the event of an emergency, access control systems can activate lockdown procedures, swiftly securing designated areas and preventing unauthorized entry.
This is only scratching the surface of what access control systems are capable of. Other key features include visitor management systems, remote access, and real-time audit trails to name a few.
Contraband and Vape/Smoke Detectors
An interconnected network of detectors can be used to detect contraband, smoking, and vaping.
Vape and Smoke Detectors
Smoking has always been an “in-thing” for school students, now vaping can be added to the list. Again technology has radically improved and modern systems are incredibly capable and include features like:
- Multisensor technology
- Real-time alerts
- Central monitoring
Placing modern vape and smoke detectors in restrooms and secluded spots has a great deterrence value as well as being successful at catching perpetrators.
Contraband detectors installed in main access points are also a combined deterrent and effective detection method. Modern millimeter wave scanners, for example, use advanced imaging technology to detect concealed objects or substances using low-power radio waves.
These scanners can reveal objects hidden under clothing or within personal belongings without the need for physical contact or invasive searches.
School Safety: Not Just for a Rainy Day
The importance of integrated security systems that utilize the available technology are critical for the day-to-day safety of students and staff. In addition to the measures discussed, AI-informed tracking systems can play a pivotal role in preventing theft and protecting valuable school assets such as laptops and electronics.
These systems provide real-time monitoring of the precise location of a school’s valuable assets and such systems can be integrated into existing security infrastructure to ensure that valuable resources don’t just wander off.
An integrated security system should have elements like access control systems, AI-powered surveillance cameras & tracking systems, and a network of smoke and contraband sensors. Combined these can ensure the everyday safety and security of staff and students.