School safety and security have never been more important. School officials are turning to AV installations and are getting creative when improving physical school security. With demand and security budgets increasing, here is how school districts can work with AV integrators to improve safety on K-12 campuses.
Starting Point for Physical School Security
As more schools begin to use audio, video, digital signage, and other services, AV integration firms are a needed partner in the conversation. Recently, the Security Industry Association (SIA) and the National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA) developed the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) program. The PASS K12 program provides resources and strategies covering:
- Property perimeter
- Parking lots
- Building perimeter
- Video surveillance
- Visitor control
- Emergency notification
These resources assist schools in discovering their security challenges and finding the right security and AV solutions are critical.
One example of a firm bringing a product to market around physical school security: IntraLogic Solutions created the One-Button Lock-Down AV and security system designed to minimize the time it takes to notify law enforcement and lock down a facility in the event of an active shooter or other safety breach situation. Over 1,500 schools are now using this system to secure their facilities.
Demand is High, Budgets are Increasing
Demand for physical school security is evident. The services of integrators who can help with physical school safety are needed and welcomed. Everyone wants children to feel safe in school, so the will to make this happen, the demand that solutions are found, is clear.
Nowhere has the demand for physical school security been made more clear than in budget allocations. From local school boards to the offices of state governors, finding the budget for school security infrastructure and systems has become a priority. Budget proposals from every corner of the nation are putting a priority on physical school security. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper's budget included $130 million earmarked for school safety. In Indiana, New Mexico, Florida, New Jersey, and elsewhere, the story is the same.
K-12 schools are using AV in many ways to enhance physical school security. Campus Safety Magazine recently presented a webinar on the vital role video plays in a unified security system. In a related article, the magazine reports, "Blaine County School District in Idaho, on the recommendations of law enforcement, began locking doors at all elementary schools during the day and using electronic buzzers and security cameras to identify visitors before granting them access to the school." More and more schools are limiting visitors to one point of entry, with security cameras and locks controlled by trained staff.
Assisting Clients with Clear Guidelines
The PASS K12 Security guidelines include the need for assessment of the following aspects of physical school security:
- Access control
- Perimeter Security
- Video surveillance
- Visitor access
- Identification of staff and visitors
- Parking lot security
- Asset tracking and inventory control
- Ongoing training in security awareness and emergency preparedness
AV integrators have a role to play in nearly every aspect of a comprehensive security plan. The PASS guidelines note: "A video surveillance system is a key component of any security program. While direct lines of sight can enhance the safety of the school, a working video system is an excellent deterrent, assists in investigations and can be used by law enforcement in tactical situations."
AV installations are clearly needed in order to keep students safe. Every school's layout, infrastructure, and governance are a bit different, so there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. Physical school security is one way AV integrators can provide a valuable and necessary service to the community.