Employing technology to make our world safer has become as ingrained in our society as using a car or the subway to commute to work. One area where that evolution has been particularly dramatic of late is in schools, where myriad incidents over the past two decades continue to demonstrate the growing need for security technology as a crucial tool in school officials’ arsenal against crime and violence in the school setting.
These technological tools are deployed in schools thanks in part to projects such as Safe Schools, Healthy Students, a federal government initiative designed to bring together the efforts of school officials, law enforcement and community leaders. Through these programs and federal grants — more than $2.1 billion awarded in the last decade — schools of varying sizes, geographies and socio-economic statuses have implemented a host of different methods to mitigate threats from both inside the school building and out. As part of the awareness brought about by these programs, schools have been investing in security technology in growing numbers, and manufacturers in the security industry have been responding with tailor-made solutions to meet the specific requirements and limited budgets of this market.
One of the most visible signs of security measures in schools is the surveillance camera network, which gives school administrators eyes and ears on multiple areas of the school building, from the crowded hallways and cafeteria to remote areas of the parking lot. These camera networks are often the first pieces of technology to be installed, and provide school staff instant access to video of normal daily operations as well as incidents unfolding for prompt response. Video recording technology also aids in the investigation and adjudication of incidents, whether a fight in the parking lot after school dismissal, the theft of an iPad from a locker, or an argument between student and staff member.
Outside of the traditional security-related tasks assigned to the surveillance system, cameras in schools can also aid in more operational related ways. For example, are unauthorized students using the elevator at the end of the hall, normally reserved for disabled students and visitors? During evening and weekend sporting events, are there enough ticket windows open in the pre-game hours to handle the crowds?
Other security technologies are also being packaged to better fit the school environment. Access control and intrusion systems that protect the building’s perimeter from unauthorized visitors, along with visitor management systems that track and control visitors can all be coupled with video surveillance to create a more robust security system at a lower price point. For example, a camera in the front office can show the face of the person who signed out a student on Tuesday afternoon as Mrs. Jones. Or a door forced open alarm from the access control system can send a video clip to police dispatch, which sends it along to the laptop in the closest patrol car.
Programs like Safe Schools, Healthy Students and other such initiatives are making a positive impact in educational institutions around the country, both in enabling safer environments as well as raising awareness of the need and effectiveness of technology as a tool. As a leading security manufacturer, Tyco Security Products is proud of its commitment to providing cost-effective and technology focused solutions that support the education market’s efforts to provide great school security.
Learn more by reading how the Miami-Yoder school district implemented their new security strategy on the Security Today website.
Know of other ways security systems are being used to foster better learning environments, tell us in the comments section below.