Schools Are Learning What Security Can Do for Them

Numerous campuses across the country are beginning to build monitoring centers, such as this one at New Britain High School in Connecticut, as a result of the digital CCTV equipment school districts have been able to purchase.

Providing security on school campuses across the country may seem like a simple solution. If a school has an adequate security system, shootings and other incidents would not occur. However, that simply is not the case. Security systems are just one small piece to a large puzzle in finding solutions to school crime.

“To have a comprehensive safety program goes way beyond the hardware,” says Jon DeFastino, school board president of the Jefferson County (Colo.) Public School system, where two students shot and killed 12 classmates and a teacher at Columbine High School in 1999. “In terms of security, you ask yourself, ‘Where do you put the money?’ Security equipment plays some role in that; just how great that role is varies.”

Although school administrators and school security personnel often disagree on whether or not security systems should be purchased, many systems have been installed at schools, from nurseries to colleges, creating a strong niche market.

While school administrators have their concerns of security and safety, the consensus with school security personnel is that dealers should pitch systems that are affordable (to please school administrators), easy to use yet effective, and compatible with other types of equipment.

School Officials Support Prevention Concept

After the Columbine incident, shocked Americans found it hard to believe that such a crime could have taken place at a school. Many school officials still had the ‘Not in our backyard’ mentality.Yet, by the time 15-year-old Charles Andrew Williams killed two students and wounded 13 people at Santana High School in Santee, Calif., on March 15, 2001, school administrators realized that these shootings were not isolated incidents. They can happen anytime and at any school.

Determining What an Adequate System Is

To school security personnel, security systems help control access on campus, decrease school property theft and vandalism, and, especially at the university level, help monitor alcohol and drug usage. However, not all schools that have some form of security equipment have systems that are up to date or compatible with current technology.

Protecting Students,  Lessening Teacher Liability

Schools at all levels share similar security concerns. Administrators and school security personnel all want to ensure students’ safety while protecting valuable school property, such as computers, and prevent graffiti and vandalism.Many security systems in place at schools not only include identification cards that allow building access but also provide some aspect of a burglar system, such as door contacts and motion detectors.

Biometrics, Digital CCTV Popularity Grows

While some school districts purchase security systems for one or all of their schools, other districts have been able to purchase high-tech systems for all of their schools.

Administrators Rely on Dealers’ Knowledge

School security isn’t a new concept. Wherever there is a school, there is a potential client; but it’s the pitch, presentation and knowledge on the dealer’s part that determines whether or not they are awarded the installation.One way to find out whether or not school districts are looking for bids on security system projects is in the local newspaper. School districts are mandated by law to publicize every school project that require bids in a newspaper.

Despite Differences, Student Safety Is No. 1

So where do security systems fit in the puzzle? It depends on which school district you approach and if major incidents have occurred there. One sure thing is that, whether or not school administrators are reluctant to install security equipment in schools, there is a high demand to protect lives and property. For school security personnel, they want a security system that will do just that.

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