Physical security | Access control

School Security, Safety and Access Control for Education

We summarized the options and important areas to consider when weighing school security options.

5 min reading time

School Security and Access Control

Updated on December 01, 2022

Written by Bernhard Mehl

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Since educational institutions are of public interest and work for the public good, it is fundamental to take their security systems seriously. Schools in particular are subject to public scrutiny as they educate one of the most vulnerable categories - children and youth. Therefore, school security systems must incorporate access control in line with the relevant legal framework, including school safety, such as protection from outside harmful influences as part of the overall security system. Video surveillance, security guards, and identification badges is the least a school can do in terms of protecting young people.

School Security Checklist #

On top of these basic access control measures, school security must also include the following aspects:

  • Fences and gates must be placed to safeguard the school area from unwanted intruders
  • Students, visitors and staff must carry the ID card in a visible way
  • Staff must be subject to strict background checks before being employed.
  • Rules should be set for parents and guardians behavior on school premises
  • Fire alarms must be installed
  • School boards must develop a written school security policy and train students and staff.
  • Car parking should be monitored for suspicious activities
  • Student’s should have individual lockers and bags that must be searched occasionally.
  • Smartphone usage should be treated with care.
  • Students must be encouraged to report suspicious activity.

School security is specific, as the young population can be prone to taking it frivolously. However, under no circumstances should a school feel like a dungeon - students should be able to move safely without unnecessary restrictions and have a general sense that they are studying in a safe institution.

‍School security systems should be safe and pleasant at the same time

School Security Tips: From Front Door Monitoring to Dress Code #

There is almost no school that doesn't have a security guard on staff. Most, if not all schools have CCTV monitoring rooms that overlook internal areas, such as classrooms and hallways, but also the school’s near vicinity to detect loitering people that shouldn’t hang there. Due to the specific dangers associated with the young population, school security and access control can include continuous, as well as ad hoc measures

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Locked and Monitored Doors During School Hours #

Preventing door access with the traditional key and option is not the best option for schools, However, that doesn’t mean it’s non-existent. Whoever keeps the keys has the authority and the responsibility to keep an eye on security. But if a key gets stolen and a lock is broken, it’s very difficult to track the perpetrator. On the other hand, locked doors with electronic access control options, such as swipe cards enable smooth and easy access with the possibility to monitor who is authorized to use a classroom or a staff office.

Security cameras #

Students and parents should be informed about the use of school security cameras and asked to adhere to monitoring and security policies. Security staff should strike a balance between holding too tightly to monitoring and making children feel like they are under constant eye watch.

Access control cards with a photo ID #

Students should carry photo IDs which can enable access, but also serve as an identifier that they belong to the school community. This prevents against unauthorized entry. However, ID access cards are not perfect. They get lost or stolen and can cause security risks from unknown sources.

Dress code - uniforms #

Officially issued uniforms resemble ID cards in terms of the identification purposes, but are a low-level school security measures and do nothing for intruders.

Anti-drug and anti-weaponry measures #

Some school run dog sniffs from time to time to detect illicit drug use. Although sometimes necessary, this is a very unpopular measure that can create a culture of distrust and feed student’s unsafe feelings. Security staff can also run metal detector checks to find weapons, which is again, not a user-friendly school security alternative.

Off-Site Electronic Access Control for Schools #

Regardless of the need to keep several access control measures working at the same time in educational institutions, there are ways to integrate more components into a full solution. You may need to collaborate with law enforcement and conduct some of the unpleasant school security measures or hand over uniforms to create a culture of safety, but you can also introduce a school security system that will streamline most automated day-to-day standardized operations. A cloud access control system doesn’t require heavy installment procedures, as you will delegate many of the access control tools to the cloud vendor via the integrated software tool. Security staff can concentrate on human-related work aspects and stay ready to respond to emergencies.

smartphone app
‍Parents can keep track of children via a smartphone app

Students, teachers, and parents can download an access control application and communicate with the access control provider via its features. Cloud access control software enables greater control over outside and inside security points, helping schools audit current security measures and implement new ones if the system indicates a need for a a change or an update.

Bernhard Mehl

Bernhard is the co-founder and CEO of Kisi. His philosophy, "security is awesome," is contagious among tech-enabled companies.

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