The protection of the people occupying a building is paramount in any institution, but with the current climate of school safety, K-12 schools have unique (and growing) security requirements. Not only are educators and faculty responsible for educating and nurturing the next generation, but schools face the ever-pressing responsibility to protect students vigilantly.
At Unified, we are deeply attuned to the needs of K-12 schools regarding entrances and the importance of comprehensive school security, and we are committed to providing products and services that enhance safety measures in the most effective and efficient way.
Schools are bustling places filled with students, teachers, administrative staff, and visitors. The range of individuals and the sheer number of entry points make security a complex issue.
Some of the security infrastructures schools typically need at entrance points include:
Controlled Access: Schools need entrance solutions such as security vestibules and dual-side locking doors that allow authorized personnel and students to enter seamlessly yet restrict unauthorized access. This balance ensures that daily activities proceed unhindered while maintaining a vigilant defense against possible dangers.
Visibility and Monitoring: Bulletproof glass doors and transaction windows at the main entrance, along with intercom and video surveillance, allow administration staff to identify and communicate safely with visitors before they are allowed to enter the premises.
Durable Materials: Given the high traffic and potential for rough use, doors, frames, and hardware for school entrances must be constructed with the most highly durable materials that can withstand daily wear and tear without losing their integrity.
It’s important to note that government funding and grants are available to schools to achieve security measures at an affordable price.
In light of increasing concerns about school safety, demands for better security have increased while school budgets continue to be cut. To address these needs, many states have been considering the adjustment of building codes to incorporate classroom door barricade devices. These small, manually administered devices promise enhanced, cost-effective security.
But, the risk of these devices inadvertently escalating situations involving bullying, harassment, or more serious forms of violence is cause for concern. Barricading devices do not comply with accessibility regulations and egress requirements in the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code. Additionally, they restrict external access, hindering staff and first responders from entering even with a key.
All Unified’s door lock solutions are code-compliant and follow fire safety protocols to meet facility standards, and government funding and grants are available to schools to achieve security measures at an affordable price. Fortunately, many schools already have effective solutions through standard dual-locking doors, but our mission is to assist educational institutions in bolstering their security measures beyond the standard protocols.
Achieving a high level of security requires proactive steps. While entrances are vital, they are just one piece of the security puzzle; human error becomes a significant vulnerability in every school. A holistic approach to security encompasses:
Training and Safety Plans: Whether it's propping open a door or losing a key, such mistakes can have unforeseen consequences. Regular, effective training and established guidelines can help reduce these oversights. A well-documented safety plan should be accessible and regularly updated based on changing circumstances and, especially, staff and community feedback.
Clear Communication Channels: Straightforward communication channels between students, staff, and security personnel are essential to building relationships of trust to foster quick responses in emergencies.
Maintenance & Assessment: Security systems are effective only if they function correctly. Regular evaluation of security technology, door locking mechanisms, and how entrances are being used by students and staff are essential. Regular assessments of school infrastructure can identify new threats and vulnerabilities, ensuring that the security measures in place remain effective.
At Unified, we seamlessly integrate into the security landscape at a school by either supporting a school’s existing security contractors or helping them become the singular, cohesive partner to meet all their needs. Our team not only possesses deep-rooted knowledge specific to K-12 security dynamics, but we excel in technical proficiency, too. With Unified, schools are not merely acquiring a service; they are engaging with a dedicated partner acutely aware of the nuances and intricacies of school security.