Re-posted with permission from Higgins Corporation and edited.
Visitor Management, Student Tracking, Access Control & Photo ID’s
School Safety is continuously a growing concern. Too many frightening headlines of shootings bring to mind the importance of access control, visitor management and photo identification. Screening people before they enter a building is imperative for many different reasons. Knowing who is sharing the school building with students and staff is important to protect physical well-being. This is also essential for matters of unwanted visitants, such as sex offenders posing as a parent or relative. Custody disputes and parental kidnapping are other causes for worry. Ensuring someone is legally in their rights or is a safe individual to pick up a child from school, is something that should be confirmed.
Keeping track of everyone in the case of any type of emergency, even environmental, is critical. Being able to identify at a moment’s notice where every student and faculty member is, stands crucial when every second matters. These trepidations are significant, but sadly tend to be addressed only after an incident occurs. The mindset of having a protected school should only be observed once adequate safety measures are adopted. Awareness of implementing some sort of visitor management, student tracking, or photo identification software needs to rise. Security regulations about who is coming and going in schools are necessary to ensure they remain a safe place for children. We are living in an increasingly technological world, and these methods should be incorporated into the school’s building and in the hands of school staff to help protect those most important.
Startlingly, the majority of schools in the U.S. still have paper logs at front desks. These outdated methods usually mean anyone can walk into a front desk, sign their name, possibly flash a driver’s license and just enter. Even if identification is required there isn’t necessarily a way for it to be checked, validated or any sort of background information to be seen. Visitor Management when equipped with access to state and federal registries like, sex offender registries, is a very helpful tool. Visitor tracking software of this nature also allows ease of tracking family relationship histories and pre‑approved visitors which aids in child custody dispute cases.
Staff member photo identification is also important this day and age. Requiring staff and teachers to wear a personnel ID, makes it easy for children to identify them and know they are a safe adult to go to. This is helpful in many different type of events and situations. Those ID’s can double as their access to the building ensuring only staff are able to open the doors. Technology and digital software enables these types of positive safety changes in a school environment. In emergency events, an outdated paper log is completely ineffective to determine where everyone is. Paper based systems are a way of the past and some schools have begun to implement electronic visitor management and photo ID badging. This is a trend that needs to continue to rise.
Increasing physical building security can be done in a few simple ways. Access control is one method that every school should start with if they have not done so already. There is no reason or excuse that any backdoor, side entry or additional entrances into a school building should be unlocked if it is not being closely monitored. Older buildings may have a harder time with this if the “front” office is not located directly at the main entrance, but regardless all visitors should be channeled and directed through one check-in point before they are able to have any contact with a student. Access control locks of all doors should be required. Even if this type of technology is not able to be utilized or installed, simply ensuring all doors are locked from the inside, barring outside entry, and only usable in the case of emergency for people to exit, is necessary.
Updating systems with visual assistance, like security cameras is an even greater step to see who might be entering before they even step foot inside. Getting a list of pre‑authorized family members or visitors, and software that easily tracks and displays this information to staff is a great measure to implement for when someone is picking up or dropping off a student through access points. It seems like easy information to trace, but is one that may be hard to keep track of and follow, and almost impossible to do so in a timely manner if it is in paper form for any school size. Electronic tracking software makes tracking whereabouts accurate and carefree. A tracking system linking this information with the databases and lists mentioned earlier will further help to determine who should be entering the building. Red flags will go off when needed and make it easy to know if someone is lying and/or should not enter the school building, or if someone is missing.
School funding is a major issue and many budgets most likely do not have any wiggle room. When it comes to school safety and security measures this should be something that receives guaranteed funding, but doesn’t always happen. Safety is of the utmost importance in most minds, certainly in the minds of parents, teachers and staff, yet the implementation of safety measures seems far down on priority lists or just absent from administrators minds. Even if it is on administrators minds, it might be thought that the implementation of new technology is too cumbersome or expensive. This is not true, there are many affordable electronic visitor management and student tracking software options out there, as well as photo ID supplies, photo ID printers, and installation is easier than one would probably think. Technology like this is more affordable that it was in the past. Much like computer technology, cell phone technology, media technology, etc. it’s relevant in our daily lives now and is not a luxury item anymore.
If you have shopped for a laptop, cell phone, or other device lately it is pretty apparent that technology has improved by leaps and bounds and so has the affordability of it. It is fractions of what was paid even just two years ago. If it was something explored, but not followed through with due to cost, getting new quotes and revisiting old plans may surprise on current pricing. Inquire and reconsider these types of security solutions for your schools or buildings and having it be a forerunner thought in your mind to implement. These vital solutions for school safety are not tedious to install, they are easy to use and learn, and is something that is affordable. Let’s get all schools, big and small, the protection they should have, because quite frankly, is there anything more paramount than safety for our children?
Contact the ISG for More Information
If your school is looking for better ways to track students, visitors, staff and volunteers, contact us today to speak with your local ISG dealer about your current situation and how we can help.