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Access Control and Its Importance for Grades K-12

When it comes to controlling school access and keeping threats at bay, it all starts with securing the front door. The front door is the primary entrance point, which has led schools to adopt new strategies for toughening their perimeters. Access control systems are very important to school security, so let's take a closer look at the various types of security that are most important to have in school environments.

The first assessment that takes place has to do with observing local patterns of traffic, parking lots, windows, rooftops, and any possible entry point into the school. Bright lights are the initial line of defense that most schools choose to install. These lights discourage criminals and give the first respondents a much better chance of spotting any sort of malfeasance.

Gates and fencing come next and not only do these deter unwanted visitors, but they also ensure that legitimate visitors will use the correct forms of entry. Any landscaping that would allow for the stashing of contraband or enable unapproved visitors is also eliminated.

In order to design the correct security plan, knowing which entrances are used and by which people is crucial. For visitors that are expected, a video doorbell is installed at the front door. The built in cameras deliver a live video feed, which allows administrators to determine whether the visitor has a legitimate reason for being on campus.

By installing video intercoms, the administrators also have the ability to open locks from remote locations. These intercoms also have tilt, pan and zoom functions. If suspicious behaviors are observed, doors are not opened and security is summoned.

To eliminate the need for screening each individual person who walks through the door, card readers are added to the security systems. Records rooms, computer labs and other areas of high value are also protected by video intercom systems.

Schools can take their security one step farther, by installing a combination wall/door after the front door. This creates a vestibule of sorts and provides a final barrier to entry. To provide additional safety, visitors are required to present a government issued ID, which is then swiped through a management system.

This system checks federal databases and state criminal records, to ensure that the person is not a sex offender or has outstanding warrants. The school also has the latitude to place former employees, problematic parents and other undesirables on a "do not enter" list.

While all of these security measures can cause delays for legitimate visitors and students, it is important to have access control systems in place. School security is crucial and the three layers mentioned (visitor management, video intercoms and electronic locks) are all part of an integrated security plan.