School violence has reached an alarming high where mass shootings happen regularly. As a result, schools are forced to take extra safety precautions to ensure the safety of their students. Again, technology can be used as a shield in the fight against school violence.
Weapons such as guns and knives can be easily smuggled into schools and used to injure or kill large numbers of people. However, if schools were to install metal detectors at all entrances, it would be much more difficult for weapons to be brought inside.
In addition, security cameras can help deter violence and identify potential threats. By monitoring hallways, classrooms, and other areas of the school, security cameras can help keep students and staff safe.
This guide discusses different technological advancements and measures that can help enhance school security.
What is K-12 Security?
K-12 security is the process and policies implemented by a school or district to keep students, staff, and visitors safe. There are many different aspects to consider when creating a comprehensive security plan, but some of the most important considerations include:
Physical security of buildings and grounds
Access control and visitor management
Emergency preparedness and response
K-12 security is paramount in today's time since schools have become a target for violence. Therefore, schools must have security measures to protect students, staff, and visitors.
Role of Technology in School Security
Technology has become an integral part of every aspect of life, including education. As schools adopt more technology-based solutions to solve various problems, it is essential to consider technology's role in school security.
Technology can be used to deter crime and keep students safe in several ways. Here are some examples of how schools can use technology to keep their students and staff safe.
Surveillance cameras in schools can help keep kids safe by deterring crime and violence and providing a record of any incidents.
Some parents and privacy advocates worry that school surveillance cameras could spy on students and staff or that the recordings could be mishandled or released. However, the benefits of surveillance cameras in schools outweigh these concerns, as long as the cameras are used responsibly.
Here are some of the benefits of surveillance cameras in schools:
Crime Deterrent: Surveillance cameras can help deter crime and violence in schools by making potential criminals think twice before acting. If they know their actions are being recorded, they are less likely to commit a crime.
Record of Incidents: If a crime or violent incident does occur, surveillance footage can be used as evidence to identify and catch the culprit. This is especially helpful in cases where there are no witnesses.
Increased Safety: In addition to deterring crime, surveillance cameras can also make schools safer places. For example, cameras can help emergency responders locate the source and evacuate the building more quickly if there is a fire.
Improved Student Behavior: Some studies have shown that school surveillance cameras can lead to improved student behavior. When students know they are being watched, they are less likely to engage in disruptive or violent behavior.
Entry Control Equipment
Entry control equipment refers to any security device used to control access to a particular area. This could include turnstiles, security gates, or even something as simple as a keycard reader.
Entry control equipment is often used in conjunction with surveillance cameras, as it can help deter crime and keep unauthorized people from entering a building.
In a school, entry control equipment can control access to certain areas, like classrooms or the school office. This can help keep students safe by preventing intruders from getting into places where they don't belong.
Identification technology is essential in K-12 security since it can be used to verify the identity of individuals and track their movements. The most common form of identification technology today is biometrics, which uses physical characteristics such as fingerprints or iris scans to identify individuals.
Other forms of identification technology include RFID tags, which can be attached to clothing or backpacks, and GPS tracking, which can be used to track the movements of individuals via their cell phone or another device.
K-12 schools can use identification technologies to verify the identities of students, staff, and visitors, as well as to track the movements of individuals on school grounds. This information can improve school safety and security and investigate incidents that occur on campus.
Two-way interactive communication technology must be a part of school security as it allows for real-time communication between administrators and first responders.
This type of communication is crucial as it can provide information about the location of an incident, the number of people involved, and any special needs that need to be considered. It can also be used to provide instructions to staff and students in an emergency.
Emergency communications systems are another key technology that schools should have in place. These systems allow for the quick and efficient dissemination of information in an emergency.
They can be used to notify staff and students of an incident, provide instructions on how to respond, and share information about any changes in the emergency status.
For instance, Aeonix Emergency Operations Control Console provides panic buttons that can be installed in strategic locations around the campus to notify first responders of an incident immediately.
The system can also be used to send out mass notifications to staff and students via email, text, and voice messages. In addition, the Aeonix system includes online software that provides real-time information about the status of an emergency, allowing people to stay informed.
Tracking systems are essential for school security as they can help monitor who is coming and going from the premises. By installing a tracking system, schools can record everyone who has been on the property and when they were there.
This information can be used to help solve crimes that have been committed on school grounds, as well as to prevent future criminal activity from occurring.
For instance, smartphone apps and GPS devices can track the location of students, staff, and visitors. If a crime is committed, the tracking data can be used to identify potential suspects and witnesses.
Benefits of Technological Tools for K-12 Security
Nowadays, technology plays a vital role in providing security for K-12 students, school personnel, and facilities. There are a lot of technological tools available that can help keep everyone safe, and some of the benefits of using these tools are described below.
Quick Response: The most prominent benefit of using technological tools for security purposes is the quick response that they can provide in case of an emergency. For example, if there is a fire in the building, the security system can immediately notify the authorities and help to get everyone to safety quickly.
Preventing Crime: Another benefit of using technology for K-12 security is that it can help to prevent crime from happening in the first place. For example, if there is a break-in attempt, the security system can notify the authorities and deter the criminals from breaking into the building.
Improving Communication: Technology can also enhance communication between school personnel and security personnel. If there is an incident, the security personnel can quickly notify the school staff to take appropriate action.
Overall, there are many benefits of using technology for K-12 security. Quick response times, prevention of crime, and improved communication are just some ways that technology can help keep everyone safe.
How to Use Technology for School Security?
As established, it has become imperative for schools to incorporate technology into their security plans. Below are some tips on how to use technology for school security:
Establish a Clear and Concise Policy
Start by creating or updating your school's policy on the use of technology. This should include guidelines on what types of devices are allowed on school grounds, how they can be used, and when they should be turned off. It's also essential to set clear expectations for student and staff behavior online.
Ensure Security of School Network
Your school's network is the backbone of its technology infrastructure, so it's essential to make sure it's secure. It must include ensuring that all devices that connect to the network are properly configured and updated with the latest security patches.
It would be best if you also considered using a VPN or other security measures to prevent third parties from intercepting your school's data, especially when using cloud technology.
Provide Training to Your Staff
It's not enough to have a policy in place—you also need to make sure your staff is trained in implementing it.
You can hold training sessions to make sure your staff and other authorities in the school know how to use a security system. For example, if you implement a communication system in the school, the staff should be familiar with its functioning so that they can use it when an emergency occurs.
In addition, it can help to create a dedicated email address or phone number where staff can report concerns anonymously.
Improve Your Security Plan
Leverage technology to improve your school's security plan. This includes using security cameras and access control systems to monitor and restrict entry to school buildings.
It would help if you also considered using technology to create a virtual private network (VPN) or other secure connection for staff and students who need to access sensitive data remotely.
Challenges in Using Technology for School Security
Although technology can be a helpful tool for school security, some challenges come with using it. Here are some of them:
One challenge is that technology can be expensive, and schools may not have the budget to implement all of the security measures that they would like to.
For example, if a school wants to install security cameras, they need to factor in the cost of buying the cameras, hiring someone to install them, and maintaining them.
Another example is if a school wants to use facial recognition software, they need to pay for the software and any associated costs such as setup and training.
Another challenge with using technology for school security is privacy concerns that need to be considered.
For example, suppose a school installs security cameras. In that case, they need to ensure that the cameras are not pointed at places where students or staff would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as in locker rooms or bathrooms.
Moreover, suppose a school uses facial recognition software. In that case, they need to be transparent about how the data collected by the software will be used and stored, and they need to get consent from students and their families before using it.
Technical difficulties can also pose a challenge when using technology for school security.
For example, if a school is using security cameras, they need to ensure that the cameras are working correctly and that the footage is of good quality.
Similarly, if a school starts using identification technology or communication systems, they need to ensure that the designs are compatible with each other and easy to use.
Incompatible systems can lead to confusion and frustration, which can, in turn, lead to security breaches.
Lack of Training
Proper training is instrumental in the effective use of any technology, but it is often lacking in school security.
For example, if a school installs security cameras, they need to train staff on how to use them and spot potential security risks. If the school fails to do this, the cameras will be ineffective.
The same is true for other types of technology, such as identification systems and communication systems. Again, if staff are not adequately trained on how to use them, they will not be able to utilize their full potential.
Technology can be a helpful tool for school security, but some challenges come with using it. These challenges include cost, privacy concerns, technical difficulties, and lack of training. Schools need to be aware of these challenges and take steps to mitigate them to ensure that their security measures are effective.