enterprisesecuritymag

The Challenge

By Guy Grace,Director of Security and Emergency Planning at Littleton Public Schools

Guy Grace,Director of Security and Emergency Planning at Littleton Public Schools

School districts face safety and security issues that are multifaceted and complex, and they must be prepared to address several situations that pose risks to students and staff that range from everyday occurrences like weather emergencies to the most severe- active assailant events.

Access Control System can help your School District

Thankfully, there are many tools available to help schools mitigate potential hazards. One of the most important safety tools for schools is the Access Control system. To address the “all-hazards” emergencies the school district may face, the security system must be integrated with technologies that meet today’s school district’s needs. Back in the early 2000s, we started using the words “Integrated Security” to describe the process when Access Control systems, Card Access, Asset Protection and Video Management systems were integrated to work together in simple processes. Jumping forward almost two decades later, what schools’ end-users will find out about today’s access control system is that they are no longer just about card access and simple processes. These systems are the backbone of your entire physical security system. 

Unification Is Most Important

It is absolutely critical that a school district considers utilizing an access control system that unifies security technology. A sound access control system will help unify multiple layers of systems such as Physical Locks, Access Control, Visitor Management, Video Intercom buzz-in systems, Asset Protection, Duress/Lockdown/Mass notification/Fire Alarm Override, Fire, HVAC, Freezer Refrigeration Monitoring, Weather Station Monitoring, Electronic Locks, Analytics Audio/Video, Reporting, Documentation and other potential emergency response technology as it is deployed and developed. Especially when you consider the different hazards that a school may see on any given day. In many ways, one could compare a school to a city. Each school has its own culture community and with hundreds and thousands of staff and students on the campuses. Just like cities, there are emergencies every day around the clock that is potentially different from school to school. A Unified Security System helps in dealing with these emergencies.

"Protecting students and staff is a tremendous moral and legal responsibility that requires a comprehensive approach to these challenges and responses"

Unified Security is a Security Force Multiplier 

A Unified Safety system is a force multiplier which enables personnel district-wide to have a hand in helping keep the schools safe. In today’s schools, it is not just School Resource Officers, Security personal or administrators maintaining safe schools; it is also secretaries, paraprofessionals, teachers and others as well. Equipping and empowering these staff with the ability to monitor and interact with the Unified Security technology is a force multiplier, and at the same time, it enhances the abilities of our teachers to teach and the students to learn in a safe and caring environment. 

Unified Security Helps with Sustainability 

Broadband high-speed internet and networking infrastructure have provided huge benefits for schools, bettering classroom modules and other capabilities and providing connected security devices. All security solutions, virtually, depend on physical network infrastructure, the most important of which is power over Ethernet (POE) cabling. Public schools can use federal E-rate program funding for POE infrastructure, helping to offset and lower the total cost of security investments. Utilization of POE also allows the systems to be more easily maintained and monitored. Even when building your Unified Security system in K-12, they should be operating on physical security networks, with appropriate security controls. This provides better cyber protection and also preserves critical systems if operational networks fail for any other reason.

The Partner Alliance for Safer Schools Can Help When Implementing a Unified Security System 

Today’s school safety challenges are multifaceted. There is no single action that will make our schools safe. Protecting students and staff is a moral and legal responsibility that requires a comprehensive approach to these challenges and responses. With this in mind, the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools created free guidelines and assessment tools that can be utilized by a school district when building a Unified Security System.

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