School Security Technologies

Jul 01, 2010

Over the past decade electronic security technology has evolved from an exotic possibility into an essential safety consideration. Technological improvements are coming onto the market almost daily, and keeping up with the latest innovation is a full time job. At a minimum, a basic understanding of these devices has become a prerequisite for well-informed school security planning. Before resorting to high-tech security solutions, school officials should think carefully about the potential for unintended consequences.

Don’t start by choosing a technology and looking for a problem it can solve. The process should be the reverse: Identify and prioritize the problems before jumping to solutions, and analyze solutions carefully before committing funding. It’s not uncommon for districts to invest in a particular technology district-wide before analyzing and priority-ranking the real concerns of the individual schools. Every school should be capable of quick lockdowns and evacuations, but the details beyond that can vary considerably. Some schools are in rough neighborhoods where violence is endemic, others are not. Some schools are constrained by meager budgets, others have deep pockets. Leaky roofs may take precedence over electronic access control systems.

Comprehensive access control and improved emergency communication systems are usually good investments.

Tod Schneider (National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities)
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (National Institute of Building Sciences)

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