20 May 2019

An Evolution in Safe School Solutions

School safety and campus security are at the epicenter of today's conversations. Although reports show a decrease in school crimes the last two decades, school administrators, parents, faculty and communities are remaining vigilant and taking an active stance in determining how to best protect students and staff and create safe campus environments. Aside from active shooting threats, schools must also take into consideration how to find ways to protect students from other incidents such as theft, assault and even bullying.

But how has school safety evolved throughout the years to meet the security needs of today? Not long ago, school security was defined by chains on exterior doors, fences to help keep children within a playground, hall passes for students wandering outside of classrooms and emergency phones in strategic locations on college campuses. With the media attention surrounding active shooter incidents in schools, all eyes are on campus security officials and the tools they are currently using to keep students safe.

One security resource that has seen significant improvement is the campus lockdown solution. In the past, when a school or campus was placed on lockdown, key personnel were appointed to manually lock doors with a master key, which was not the most efficient method in a crisis situation. This cumbersome technique put administrators in harm's way and took critical time to execute. 

New Technologies

Fortunately, new technologies have been developed to increase effectiveness and protect faculty in the event of an emergency. An example of this type of solution is Vanderbilt's Security Management System (SMS). By partnering with Allegion and utilizing Von Duprin Remote Undogging (RU) and Remote Monitoring (RM), K-12 and university facilities are able to utilize an electronic override of mechanical dogging during emergency facility lockdowns. The integration allows campus security officials and administrators to remotely monitor and lock down perimeter doors with the touch of a button during emergencies, enabling faster response times and increased safety.

Another key resource that has helped improve campus safety is video surveillance and Video Management Systems (VMS). Video data is not only crucial for school administrators during investigations, but it can also deter theft and vandalism, as well as act as a resource during school security breaches. 

Remote Access

Today's VMS solutions allow administrators remote access to video clips for further management and investigation. In addition, by integrating with Vanderbilt's Security Management Systems (SMS), access control, digital video and alarm monitoring can be controlled from a single platform, improving efficiencies and communications between technologies.

Campuses are complex in design and each face unique challenges when implementing solutions to protect students while also enabling access to facilities for visitors. As campus security needs continue to evolve, the solutions designed to keep students, faculty and staff safe will also increasingly shift to accommodate those needs.