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Securing Schools from the Parking Lot to the Classroom

Our nation’s schools should be safe havens where children can learn, grow and develop. Tragically, schools have been targeted in recent years by active shooters and others looking to do harm to the most innocent of victims – schoolchildren. The need for increased school security has never been more apparent.

The first step in securing a school is to have a Risk Assessment performed to determine its specific vulnerabilities and specify the most effective security solutions to mitigate them.  Ideally, these School Security Assessments should be conducted by qualified professionals with experience in both tactical security, such as law enforcements, and day-to-day school administration.

To safeguard a school from the parking lot to the classroom, several different security measures are often recommended, because layered security is the most effective security. Here’s a look some of the most frequently specified deterrents:

LICENSE PLATE RECOGNITION (LPR)

LPR technology is an ideal first line of defense for schools. It allows them to use cameras with built-in optical character recognition analytics to record the images of a license plate and also run them against DMV databases. This technology is very useful in spotting unwanted visitors before they enter and/or tracking them after they’ve left.

ACCESS CONTROL

The ability to control who can enter a school and who can’t is core to any school’s security plan. There are several access platforms to choose from, including a card or code-based system, or a software-driven access platform that enrolls users and grants access based on biometrics. IP-based access control systems are often an attractive option as they allow enable administrators and security personnel to grant access to locked doors remotely on a mobile device. They can also enable school lockdowns from mobile devices in the event of emergency.

METAL DETECTORS AT ENTRY WAYS

Using metal detectors at a school’s main entrance sends a clear message that security measures are in place and not only help deter unwanted outsiders from attempting entry, but also show students themselves that they risk getting suspended, expelled and/or investigated by law enforcement if they’re caught bringing weapons into school. Stationary metal detectors can be installed at entrances or handheld to be used at various locations throughout the school building.

VIDEO SURVEILLANCE, INTERCOM SYSTEMS & VISITOR MANAGEMENT

Increasingly more schools are implementing IP video surveillance to help meet their security needs. Because of their high image quality, IP cameras enable users to track and ID intruders and suspicious people as they enter and exit a school. When installed at various locations, they can monitor entrances, parking lots, walkways, and hallways and record real-time events as they’re happening. Video can be stored on a hard drive to be reviewed if needed and can also be used for forensic evidence. Video intercoms can also be integrated into a school’s security system so personnel can see and speak with visitors before granting them access with the push of a button.

While being able to ‘go to the videotape’ after an incident has occurred is often a useful capability, not to be overlooked is the importance of managing visitors before an incident occurs. Having a Visitor Management System in place to allow or deny access can help mitigate any vulnerabilities in an existing security system. The features and benefits, for instance, of ZKTeco’s Visitor Authentication and Management System (VAMS®) Hi Secure solution can close up any potential gaps and ensure that visitors who enter a premise are authorized and cleared to do so.

ZKTeco offers many access control and visitor management solutions ideally suited to securing schools. For more details, please visit the Products section of our website, give us a call at +1 862-505-2101, or email us at sales@zktecousa.com.