School Security

When academic institutions need to formulate incident management plans, experts such as Chris Mashburn, chief operating officer of VuTeur, are called in to perform a safety assessment. Writing in Campus Safety magazine, Mashburn walks the reader through key personnel that need to be involved and some problems that may arise in school security. Mashburn starts by identifying the four types of personnel and their roles in securing a campus from first contact to last: the IT director, the administration (such as superintendent, assistants and principals), teachers and educators, and first responders. Problems can arise from the following factors:

  • Incomplete visitor management, such as lack of check ins, which can be solved via geofences around the perimeter of the campus. "These virtual geographic boundaries can be integrated with other access control technology to allow security officials and administrators to use mobile devices to easily identify individuals entering and exiting the perimeter," writes Mashburn.
  • Unorganized incident response, such as only having the emergency plan in hard copy or improper briefing procedures. This can be solved, writes Mashburn, with a real-time communications system deployed during emergencies and judicious use of older systems. "Existing emergency protocols in schools and colleges can and must be made to work immediately, and communication methods must be chosen carefully: a public address (PA) system may cause heightened concern, and walkie-talkies are outdated and prohibit broadcasting," he writes. Mashburn recommends SMS and chatting on smart devices instead.
  • Lack of security technology and consolidation, such as inoperable video surveillance in suboptimal areas, should be replaced with an integrated technology system, says Mashburn, removing silos to network these elements together.
  • Inadequate technology and incident management training, such as lack of information given to staff before emergencies occur, is critical to security success, says Mashburn." All employees of a school or university must work together and put in the time and effort to properly understand the school's security measures and emergency processes," he writes.