No matter the mission of an organization, security is critical, and since schools, in particular, are subject to public interest and work for the common good of educating the children and youth, it’s fundamental to take their security all the more seriously.
School administrators have a moral and legal obligation to protect the children and staff members in their institutions and therefore must incorporate access control within their school safety protocol, such as absolute protection from outside influences.
While there are plenty of elements that come together to make up a comprehensive school security plan, none have proven to be more effective than access control systems. Access control means securing the perimeter of the school’s property, as well as each point of entry, to ensure that students, staff, and visitors will know exactly where to enter, what to do once they enter, and how to exit.
The Importance of Auditing Access Control in Schools
Auditing access control for schools is a careful balancing act, but as tragic acts of violence take place in schools across the world, it’s more important than ever to remain committed to keeping children safe. Here are some of the ways access control can be used in schools to keep them safe.
Need to Lock Exterior Entrances in Emergency Situations
As much as we don’t like to think about worst case scenarios, it’s always better to be prepared. Locked exterior doors can prevent dangerous people from gaining entry to your school, and keyless entry systems give you the ability to lock all exterior doors with the click of a button to not allow entry to anyone whatsoever.
Monitor Movement Throughout the School
Assuming your visitors know how to navigate your school should not be left to chance and could also give the impression that you’re not taking your school’s security seriously enough. Auditing your access control systems can help ensure that you have a well-defined entry and exit route that starts in the visitor’s parking lot and guides them to a visitor’s entrance or other relevant entry points with complementary signage to make it absolutely clear that visitors must check-in with the main office. This helps to funnel visitors into a controlled, visible area to ensure visitor’s don’t end up somewhere they’re not supposed to be.
Allow Safe Entry and Exit
For an access control system to be an effective security measure, it must be able to allow access to specific people in specific areas to prevent confidential information from getting out but also allow students and staff to exit out of certain areas in the case of an emergency. Specialized locks can be used to secure entry points into the school, but can also be used to open outside exits to give students and staff an emergency route to evacuate the building. This also enables emergency response teams to freely enter the school.
Focus Points for Security Audits
Security audits can be simple, but a comprehensive and thorough analysis that examines every possible risk factor leads to more detailed results. Auditing access control consists of identifying the scope of the audit, designing the audit to the specifications of that scope, collecting data, developing estimates and schedules, and presenting results. Regular audits are vital for making sure that your school’s access control systems are functioning correctly. Audits may be building-wide or conducted hallway by hallway, but it’s important to pay particular attention to these four areas:
Audits should include tests on physical barriers like magnetic doors, auto-lock doors, turnstiles, and speed gates for pedestrians and cars. Barriers that are slow to respond could potentially be problematic in the case of an emergency.
Be sure that all of your staff members understand the importance of keeping their personal identification and access keys safe at all times. Built-in devices like biometric-access locks, access control keypads and identification sensors must be programmed to admit the correct clearance levels in certain areas of the school. Your audit should also extend to the data logs, which must show an accurate record of who entered and exited restricted areas.
Door Control Hardware and Software
Faulty access control due to careless installation and software bugs can render any access control systems useless.
It’s imperative for the entire administration to keep a close watch over the clearances of school employees. Human resources should immediately deactivate the identification devices of resigned or terminated employees. HR should also not have to wait for a system audit. The office can initiate small audits when they have time to ensure that only authorized people can access the restricted areas in the school.
If you would like more information on how to make your school or facility more secure by using access control, contact the experts at TED Systems in Kansas City today!