Improving School Safety: Creating a Unique Approach for Your District

schneider public safety

Improving School Safety: Creating a Unique Approach for Your District

By Tammy Fulop, Vice President, Schneider Electric

 School safety has taken over headlines across the nation. Despite these endless concerns, most districts struggle to overcome the barriers preventing them from updating safety and security. Limited budgets leave districts with a lack of funding required to achieve improvements.

Creating a plan that uses connectivity, accessibility, simplicity and expandability when it comes to updated security technology is essential for school districts. These are critical components, but implementing safety and security features is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. Factors like age of existing infrastructure, government regulations, climate and geographic locations dictate how a district should expand upon its security plans. Districts can create a solid framework for the future by building these critical components into a holistic strategy.

Some security and safety technologies, including LED lighting and building automation systems, also provide additional benefits. These features improve energy and operational efficiencies and reduced maintenance needs, both putting energy savings back into the district’s budget.

Implementing these safety and security features is a daunting task—even understanding where to begin is challenging. To get started, districts can focus on three preventive measures to improve safety:

  1. Security Technology

There are several technologies a school district should consider as a part of its security plan.
 

  • LED lighting is the optimal choice for school safety for multiple reasons. Keeping schools well-lit can act as a strong deterrence to vandals and outsiders. LED makes exits and hallways more accessible and visible when students and faculty need to quickly remove themselves in potentially dangerous situations. Implementing brighter exterior lighting also improves safety in parking lots, pathways and even in unsuspecting places like underneath bleachers, resulting in a safer atmosphere. LED lights also generate energy savings and reduce maintenance costs through greater efficiency and durability.
  • Surveillance cameras and alarm systems ensure district-wide safety and help with overall deterrence. Cameras can be setup to feed footage back to a centralized location, providing single-point access for monitoring live feeds across the district. The central feed is valuable when assessing and recording activated alarm systems based on predetermined intrusion conditions such as occupancy sensors, schedule and glass-breakage detection.
  • Single-point entry ways control who and when someone enters the building, requiring visitor check-in, identification review, etc. Single-point entryways also boost energy efficiency by keeping conditioned air inside buildings, minimizing leakage and reducing wasteful energy usage.
  • VoIP technology creates a seamless way to quickly and easily communicate with schools across the district. This technology paired with an emergency response and preparedness plan allows administrators to communicate weather or security emergencies with the click of a button.
  1. Building Automation

District-wide monitoring and controls of the building systems, such as door locks, networks and power, help control remote changes to infrastructure access and facility operations. This enables school systems to remotely and quickly change door access rules, address air flow by to zone or even shut down critical or sensitive areas like computer and science labs that use more resources and energy.

Consolidating critical mechanical equipment allows school districts to automatically modify operations. This control provides optimal efficiency during extended vacancies such as weekends and school breaks.

  1. Personnel

A recent survey shared that 57 percent of schools already have a security personnel presence. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 42 percent of schools had a resource officer on site during the 2015-2016 school year. That’s 10 percent higher than a decade earlier.

Personnel may include various roles, such as mental health counselors and on-campus security, depending on the unique needs of the district. In many cases, mental health counselors and security work hand-on-hand to provide a broader range of resources for students and faculty.

Unfortunately, limited funding prevents districts from properly staffing these roles. The demand is there, so districts must task themselves to identify how they can adequately meet this criterion. Again, depending on the needs of the school district and its history, this can impact the decision of which personnel to implement.

 

Your Approach

 

Before developing a plan or strategy, it’s essential to determine the vision, the goals and the parameters on how to improve each campus in the district.

Working with qualified safety and security professionals can help districts formalize a plan and strategy. Since no safety and security plan will be the same, it’s important to have the proper partner and personnel onboard to create the best, most efficient plan for that school system and community.

To learn more about what safety and security transformation your district can achieve, visit: https://www.schneider-electric.us/en/work/services/energy-and-sustainability/performance-contracting/k12-education/

Contact Us

Inbuilding Magazine

150 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 900
Chicago, IL 60601

312.676.1105

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Share This Page

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.