How Your Perimeter Can Be Your First Line of Defense
The thought of an individual wanting to do harm on a school campus can bring about feelings of fear and helplessness. It is those feelings that drive school security teams to implement security and safety plans that minimize an individual’s ability to cause harm to students, staff and visitors.
School security teams are constantly seeking ways to control access into entry points at their facilities, in order to protect everyone and everything inside.
An effective school security strategy begins at each school’s perimeter. It is the first line of defense, where security can deter, detect, delay, and/or deny entry. For many schools, that perimeter is at the front entrance, where individuals check in with school administration in order to gain access to other areas.
There are several ways to implement a successful perimeter and security strategy.
One method is to ensure that security personnel, students, and administrators are as prepared and trained as possible. Yet, it is not always possible for your staff to regularly meet as a large group.
There are technology-based solutions available that allow school administration to train and track the professional development of each staff member, without meeting in person. Dubbed Learning Management Systems (LMS), these are best served as an embedded part of a Visitor & Incident/Emergency System when it comes to security. Designated administrative or security personnel within your school can assign security plans and video or document-based security materials and assessments on topics such as perimeter security. In order to determine your staff’s comprehension of these important security materials, LMS solutions enable you to write your own tests, set the format, number of questions, passing rate for your staff, and more. Once assigned, an email notification is sent to the individual or group alerting them that they must complete an important security-related assignment. When the assessment is completed, feedback is sent and you receive the test scores.
Beyond training, integrations with leading perimeter camera systems, metal detectors, License Plate Recognition systems, and more can alert staff before threats have entered the building, improving threat mitigation, response times and increasing security.
Technology like event management systems can further stop criminals from moving beyond perimeters, including a school’s front entrance. For example, schools often hold events with invited guests, such as college fairs, arts, charity events, and fundraisers. Allowing someone who is on a Watch List, or who is a registered sex offender, to attend the event, is a risk that no school should be willing to take.
Event management solutions can help you to pre-check guests and provide an added layer of protection to keep your facility as safe as possible. Information derived from the invitation allows you to pre-check attendees against a customized Watch List (i.e., Deny Entry List) and the National Sex Offender Database, to keep them off of your campus. Once the event begins, the solution can quickly and efficiently check in your guests, ensuring that only those who have access are allowed past certain perimeters.
Beyond special events, there are many guests who seek access to your school each day, either to visit their child, help out in a classroom, deliver supplies, and more. A lockdown system can stop a known criminal before they try to enter your school beyond the parking lot, front lobby and into classrooms or other areas.
A lockdown system can quickly (silently or audibly) alert designated stakeholders and local police departments to emergency threats, including those that require a lockdown. You should be able to engage your lockdown system from any computer or mobile device to help expedite reaction time. A lockdown system can then send the emergency notifications needed to begin security protocol procedures, even before any hard-wired sirens or physical alerts are initiated.
In the climate of the present day, independent schools and districts must continually seek new and innovative ways to secure their facilities. Systems that train staff, help to manage guests during special events, and enable lockdowns from any device, offer superior protection.
The safety of students and staff members is the main concern of everyone tasked with security. Controlling access to your school’s perimeter is one highly effective way to eliminate potential threats to students, staff and visitors.
Learn more about the SILVERSHIELD Visitor Management System.
Robin Baker oversees the design and development of SilverShield, a cloud-based Visitor & Emergency Management System, and was also instrumental in ARMS, an anti-piracy security application for the safety of ships and crews at sea. In addition, Robin was also the founder of Learning Today, now known as iReady. Robin works with Schools, as well as Security and Software Development Teams internationally to improve the safety and security of schools today. American Heritage School of Plantation and Boca/Delray has adopted SilverShield and can speak about its effectiveness on their campus as well.
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