How Access Control Systems Can Make Schools Safer

Close up of security camera in a classroom with blurred children in the background.

It’s an unfortunate fact that increased security is becoming more and more important for schools across the nation. It seems we’ve passed the time when most schools only needed a simple visitor sign in system and a school security guard or two patrolling the halls to maintain a relatively high level of safety.

In these more modern times, school security systems must be able to provide higher levels of safety with a wider variety of features and reliability. For example, video monitoring and recording is becoming more and more necessary in order to be able to detect and review any incidents that may occur. A comprehensive system should include ways to lock down all or parts of a school and campus in the event of an active shooter situation or other emergency.

Building & Campus Lockdowns

If a school receives an emergency alert from local authorities to lock down the school—or if an emergency occurs on campus—speed is of the essence when it comes to ensuring the safety of students, staff, and visitors. Instead of teachers and personnel rushing to lock doors, an access control system could allow for locking down all classrooms and offices with the tap of a button.

ID Badges & Access Cards

While traditional lock and key systems are fairly reliable, they’re no longer the best solution or option when compared to modern security technology. For starters, keys are easy to lose and easy to clone, which can make it easy for bad actors to gain unauthorized access to buildings and areas. Additionally, the keys will either need to be able to unlock multiple areas or staff will have to carry around keyrings to be able to access various areas of the school campus.

A better alternative is a security access system that utilizes either keypads with custom key codes per user, biometrics systems that utilize fingerprints to permit access to areas of a building or campus, or ID badges or access cards.

Keypads are generally a cheaper option than biometrics or ID/access badges, but they do have their drawbacks. For one, each user will need to memorize one or more codes to access certain areas. If you don’t utilize keys per user and opt for one key per door, it’s difficult to track who was where, when. Additionally, if you wish to track student entry and exit from areas they’ll each need an access code. Speaking of exiting an area, it can take time to correctly type in a code, which can put people in dangerous situations in times of crisis.

Biometrics are a better solution, as they permit or deny entry with the swipe of a finger and can make it easy to track where staff are at any point in time. However, it can be difficult to implement a biometrics system in a way that students can utilize it, as biometric data is generally considered sensitive and may cause issues or concerns.

Access Cards or ID badges may be the best solution for a number of reasons. First, they easily allow for entry (or denial) per area, per person. Additionally, they can create a record that makes it easy to track where people are at any given time. And, another great benefit, is these access cards or badges can be utilized by students to help track them across campus, so you can ensure their location and safety in case of emergency. An added bonus is access cards and ID badges can have names and photos, which make it easy to accurately identify students in a hurry.

Additional Benefits

In addition to the above benefits of a comprehensive school access control system, there are a few additional features that can further enhance a school’s overall security. As mentioned earlier, CCTV is useful to monitor events happening in real-time, and to review events that took place to get a better understanding of the situation, who was involved, etc., and can be integrated with an access control system.

Another benefit of security access control systems for schools is you can easily give and revoke access to individuals quickly. If you have visitors signing in, they can be provided temporary access to specific parts of your building or campus, and the access can be removed whenever appropriate. The same goes for staff and others on campus.

While it may be tempting to go for the cheapest access control system, it may be worth it to rework your budget to be able to spend enough on a solid, reliable system that has the features necessary to keep your campus, students, staff, and visitors as safe as possible.

Be sure to discuss your needs and options with a reputable local security company. They’ll be able to make recommendations and work with you based on your goals and budget to come up with a system that meets your requirements. If you’re in the East Texas area, contact 3D Security, Inc. to discuss your school security needs. We’ve helped secure multiple schools, hospitals, banks, and a wide variety of different types of businesses and organizations for over 30 years, and we have the experience and expertise needed to meet and exceed your expectations.