School Security: Door Locks and Hardware Solutions for K-12 Campuses

Here are a few solutions installing security contractors can present to help protect school campuses.

With more than 55 million children enrolled in U.S. K-12 schools, campus security is top of mind for parents, teachers, staff and the community. Every single school has an individual layout and construction, resulting in no one-size-fits-all security solution.

As K-12 districts continue to fund both upgrade retrofits and new building expansions, installing security contractors need to present a variety of new products and solutions to help protect school campuses.

There are three general areas to keep in mind regarding a school campus: perimeter control via entry and exit points; a safe means of egress; and individual classroom security.

Starting at the perimeter of the building, there are traditional locking solutions or access management technologies to monitor and control access. This same technology can be deployed across multiple buildings but monitored under the same access control system by school personnel.

Check out our photo gallery of locks and door hardware solutions.

Security systems integrators should look for products that will provide a safe means of egress. Depending on the number of students or occupants, different exit hardware may be required. Also, a similar exit hardware solution can be applied for both stairwells and assembly areas, which can sometimes be overlooked.

Lastly, inside the building there are many different technologies that allow teachers or staff to quickly secure classrooms from the inside or remotely from an administrative office.

Many school districts have limited resources for security upgrades. To assist schools in responsible stewardship of these limited resources, there are a variety of products that leverage a school’s existing hardware investment and infrastructure.

Perimeter Security

If you’re looking to quickly add perimeter security, electric strikes are one solution. They’re easy to install and readily available. Surface mounted electric strikes are easy to install with no cutting to the frame. They also work with rim exit devices commonly used on perimeter doors. Look for Grade 1, outdoor rated strikes that allow school administrators to lock down the campus with the push of a button and can also be used on cafeteria and gymnasium doors for an additional layer of security.

For schools that want to add access control to interior openings without replacing door hardware or cutting the frame, look for no-cut strikes for cylindrical or mortise locksets. Common K-12 applications include classrooms, administrative offices and staff lounges. Fire-rated strikes (b) are also available if local codes require it in your application.

Besides this popular perimeter upgrade, there are a number of frequently missed opportunities to improve security and safety in schools. So as you do your assessment, consider these five commonly overlooked areas:

Gates and Fences

Don’t forget about the gates and fences surrounding the campus. Many schools choose to have a guard on duty or a fence in place to keep students, staff and even inventory, such as buses, safe, while keeping unwanted visitors out. An electromechanical gate lock (c) can work well in both electrically and manually operated gate installations to be used for swing gates, sliding gates or stock cage gates. Before purchasing a gate lock, look at the holding force, housing, mounting process and pre-load operation.

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