The start of a new school year is an excellent time for districts to review their school security. It also presents an opportunity to seek out and identify additional upgrades or modifications with the full knowledge of how the facility is being used.
With this real-world stress test taking place as the first school bell tolls, ASSA ABLOY Door Security Solutions has compiled its list of resources for school districts online at www.assaabloydss.com/en/local/dss/solutions/education-solutions/k-121/. The site offers resources such as white papers on the Keys to an Effective School Lockdown and Security and Life Safety for Schools, as well as several other documents focusing on partnership opportunities, grant funding and K-12 security solutions.
As a quick reference, here are the top pieces of advice for those tasked with keeping school buildings and the students, faculty and staff both safe and secure throughout the year.
By now you’ve likely determined if all keys are accounted for through a manual count. If not, get on a key count and inventory immediately. Missing or unreturned keys are typically the result of forgetfulness rather than maliciousness, but a missing key still results in an unsecured building.
Basic Equipment Check
Doors and hardware should be constantly checked, both before the school year starts and throughout the year as those on campus use the openings. Do all doors close and latch? Check to see if damage is causing issues for any of the door or opening hardware. Are doors being propped open with doorstops? If so, why is that, and is that acceptable in your facility’s security plan? From loose screws to makeshift repair jobs, any component that isn’t operating properly is likely compromising your facility’s security. Anything blocking a door from closing and latching is a potential vulnerability.
Community pressure to add more security to schools, coupled with funding constraints, can sometimes result in a “we have to do something” mentality. This type of thinking can result in the purchase and implementation of non-compliant devices that promise more security but actually create more problems. Building codes for life safety, fire and accessibility exist to keep people safe and secure. When considering changes to your security, make sure you are complying with all local, state and national codes.
Is there a safe means of egress from the building in each room? Often, classrooms or areas with high levels of activity can end up with tables, chairs or classroom clutter in front of secondary doorways. Clear those areas and make sure to work with staff to explain why it is critical to keep it that way.
Other areas to consider while preparing for the new year include planning out central or local lockdown procedures, evaluating new security options for perimeter and interior security, considering vulnerabilities such as nearby glass or glass set into the opening itself, potential upgrades to electronic access controls, and special areas that might need additional security such as student drop-off zones and assembly spaces.
Today’s K-12 schools require broad safety and security solution choices to facilitate their unique strategies, which ASSA ABLOY provides through its comprehensive offering of innovative perimeter, vestibule, exterior and interior door opening solutions.
If you have concerns about your school, professional door opening consultants and code experts are available throughout the country through ASSA ABLOY’s K-12 School Safety and Security Assessment Program and the K-12 School Security app, which offers self-service site assessment.
At ASSA ABLOY, our mission is to keep the people and places that matter most both safe and secure. As such, we offer these services free of charge and we are happy to schedule a complimentary site assessment at your facility.