A private school for children in pre-kindergarten through grade five located in an affluent town in Connecticut has several buildings on the open campus. With the tragedy that occurred in Sandy Hook in December of 2012, the way security was viewed from a student, parent and faculty perspective fundamentally changed. While the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and the local police department helped the school to develop and implement a few security procedures, school management wondered if there was more they could do to be protected from serious security threats on campus.
The school connected with Tyco Integrated Security and a few other vendors to hear ideas on how to augment the security system to make it easy to manage and monitor and, most importantly, effective in helping to protect students and faculty. Management ultimately decided to work with TycoIS because of the longstanding and successful relationship the two organizations had already built. After discussing key concerns with the school’s Headmaster, Director of Admissions and the Business Manager, the TycoIS team completed a comprehensive security audit and presented its findings, along with recommended next steps. The security audit brought to light a number of critical areas where security could be improved and used more consistently. Based on that audit, the TycoIS team recommended a cost effective, integrated security solution that would address the entire campus and allow for easy management and monitoring, all within the school’s budget for the project.
TycoIS implemented a 10-door hosted access system, concentrating on critical doors in the school, gym, main office and other surrounding buildings, allowing the school to control entrance into all locations. The team also installed an audio/visual intercom in the main office to control non-access entry. In addition, the TycoIS team installed a closed-circuit television (CCTV) system to visually monitor critical areas, both interior and exterior. The surveillance cameras are displayed on a common screen above the nurse’s station, and on several desktops, where they can be monitored by multiple people. Networked panic buttons linked to the local police department were put in place to allow for timely response to critical situations. Additional security solutions also implemented include a public address (PA) system and improved locks.
As the implementation process continued, the school realized it not only needed more surveillance cameras at an entry point to the office building, but also additional panic buttons – last-minute needs that TycoIS was able to address quickly and efficiently. There were also implementation challenges throughout this process associated with the office being in a 19th century house without easy access.
The full project was completed in April 2013 and the school campus is now fully secure, with procedures in place to help maintain continued security over time. Prior to the installation, many faculty members were concerned about the security at the school. Following installation, the school hosted an orientation for the faculty to learn about the new system, at which point many faculty members reported feeling relieved and significantly safer. Throughout the planning process, school management and TycoIS coordinated with the local police and fire department, and presented the students’ parents with numerous plan copies to ensure the final result would be balanced and received favorably. Parents who have seen the system are impressed with both the efficient implementation process and final result, feeling peace of mind about sending their children back to school this fall.
As a private school, the integrated security approach is an added benefit for both current and prospective students and parents, who consistently ask about the issue as a whole. The system will also be easy to expand upon – a prospect that school management is very excited about. Overall, school faculty, management, parents and students alike are very pleased with the outcome.
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