Security Systems on Rise since Newton School Incident 

Ever since the horrendous shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. last December, security professionals experienced in the K-12 market have seen an increase in inquiries regarding their systems according to Scott Goldfine, who has spent more than 14 years with Security Sales and Integration.

The incident that happened right smack in the midst of the holiday season hit home with not only Newtown residents, but parents, teachers and fellow students across the country -- as so many felt such extreme devastation, as if their hearts have been torn out. Parents were now living with dread and apprehension, knowing the possibility of what could happen when sending their little ones off to school.

How could something so pointless, shocking and devastating be avoided? The harsh reality is that such occurrences could happen again and ideally parents needed a sense of faith that this alarming reality could be minimized so they could remain calm and have some relief when sending their child off to school.

Schools are now taking better precautions by installing additional security systems. And in turn the security industry is taking its position in helping to protect schools.

Goldfine stated the best systems and services for schools include: cloud-based security as a service (SaaS) monitoring; mass notification; perimeter security and surveillance; physical security information management (PSIM) for entire districts; intercom/door release for identification of visitors; access control with campus lockdown; visitor management with live predator database to replace paper logbooks and scan driver’s licenses; IP video cameras; timed locking hardware; emergency call stations; alarm monitoring of duress buttons; video monitoring and recording systems; access control auditing entered into database; security site assessments; metal detectors; and wireless duress pendants.

Some of the best practices for schools include locking outside doors at the beginning of the school day and having a “waiting lobby” for guests and students with a camera and intercom to prevent entry; as well as a full perimeter lockdown, including the main entrance. Classrooms should be locked during school hours.

A visitor management system can prevent unauthorized people wandering throughout the schools. Students should be instructed not to let those who are unauthorized to enter the school.
Mass announcements can allow students to know what is going on if something out of the ordinary will affect their school day. Emergency response training should be available for staff. Faculty and staff should wear picture badges. Parents should have access to mobile communication apps.

In order for a successful system to work, parents need to build a rapport with school administrators. It’s essential that they learn existing policies and practices, as well as changes that are planned, collaborate with both school officials as well as policemen, and seek out bonds with decision makers. Schools need to create programs with trained staff in order to maintain systems. All projects must have a start to finish game plan in order to secure a trust amongst teachers, students and parents.