School security has become a pressing concern in the past few years, considering there were 249 school shootings in the US in 2021. On top of that, there were hundreds of reported incidents of violence in schools.
The good news is that schools can do some things to improve safety, and one of those things is investing in communication solutions. Such solutions include emergency alert systems, mass notification systems, two-way radios, etc.
What is K-12 Security?
K-12 security refers to the safety and security of students in kindergarten through 12th grade. It also encompasses the safety of staff members, faculty, visitors, and anyone else who steps foot on school grounds.
Many factors contribute to K-12 security, such as building design, entrance/exit points, lockdown procedures, law enforcement presence, etc. But one of the most critical aspects of school safety is communication.
Types of Security Threats in Schools
Schools are susceptible to many different types of security threats. Here are some of the most common ones:
Burglary: Unfortunately, schools are often targeted by burglars looking to steal valuable items such as computers, TVs, and other electronics. In addition to material losses, burglary can also lead to data or sensitive information loss.
Vandalism: Vandalism is another common type of security threat faced by schools. This can include things like graffiti, broken windows, and damaged property. Besides the monetary cost of repairs, vandalism causes fear and insecurity among students and staff.
Violent Crime: While it is relatively rare, schools can also be the target of violent crime, such as shootings, assaults, and kidnappings. Such a threat can have a devastating effect on the entire school community.
Cybersecurity Threats: In recent years, cybersecurity threats have become increasingly common. These threats can include viruses, malware, phishing attacks, and data breaches. With more and more schools using technology, it is essential to be aware of these risks and take steps to protect against them.
Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters can also pose a security threat to schools. While these events are out of our control, it is vital to have a plan in place in case of an emergency.
As you can see, there are a variety of security threats that schools face. Therefore, administrators need to be aware of these risks and take steps to protect their students, staff, and property.
Common School Security Measures
Considering the rise of security risks in schools, many school districts have taken measures to improve security. Some of the most common school security measures include:
Metal Detectors and Wands: The first entry point for many school security measures is metal detectors and wands. These can be used to screen students and visitors as they enter the school and can help to deter weapons from being brought into the building.
Locks and Key Cards: Many schools have also implemented locks and key cards to further secure the buildings. It can include locking all doors except for the main entrance or having key cards that must be swiped to gain entry.
Cameras: Video surveillance cameras are another standard security measure often used in schools. These help monitor activities both inside and outside of the school and help investigate incidents after they have occurred.
Security Personnel: While not always present, security personnel can be a deterrent to potential threats and can help respond to security incidents before external help arrives.
Security Lighting: Nowadays, you will also see a lot of schools with improved lighting around the perimeter of the building. It helps deter crime while allowing cameras and other security measures to be effective.
While these are some of the most common school security measures, it is essential to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, each school district should tailor its security measures to fit the needs of its schools.
Why Communication is Key for K-12 Security
In an emergency, every second counts. That's why it's so important for schools to have a way to quickly and effectively communicate with everyone on campus.
Schools can send out mass notifications to everyone in the building (or even outside of the building) within seconds with communication solutions in place. This way, everyone is aware of the situation and can take appropriate actions.
Emergency alert systems are one type of communication solution used for K-12 security. These systems allow schools to send out voice, text, and email alerts to all students, staff, and faculty members.
Likewise, staff in schools can use two-way radios to communicate with each other and first responders in the event of an emergency. For example, suppose a fire breaks out in a school building. In that case, the staff can use two-way radios to communicate and coordinate evacuation efforts.
Mass-notification systems are also instrumental in school security. These systems can be used to send out visual and auditory alerts.
Many mass-notification systems also have pre-recorded messages that can be played in an emergency. For example, a school could use a mass-notification system to play a message that says, "There is an active shooter on campus. Please evacuate to the nearest safe location."
In short, communication solutions are vital for K-12 security. They provide a way for schools to quickly and effectively notify everyone of an emergency.
Why Communication Solutions have Become a Necessity
The bottom line is that communication solutions have become a necessity for K-12 security. With so many school shootings and other violent incidents happening, schools need to take steps to improve safety.
Investing in communication solutions is one of the best ways to do this. These solutions can help save lives in an emergency by allowing school administrators to quickly and easily send out alerts to students, staff, and parents.
In addition, communication solutions can also improve the overall climate of a school. By providing a way for students and teachers to report concerns anonymously, they can help create a more positive and safe environment for everyone involved.