Schools can’t afford to have a revolving door of unauthorized guests entering and exiting their buildings. However, if they’re not equipped with the proper security systems, this is an unfortunate reality for many K-12 institutions – including one Washington school district.

The district recognized that visitors were coming into its facilities without being granted access or notifying the front office. On top of strangers walking around campus, the district also noticed an increase in bullying across schools. School officials knew they had to combat their access control issue, but also address bullying, so they made security integration a priority to leverage the different capabilities of adjacent security systems and technologies.

Implementing a Holistic Security Approach

To tackle the integration, the school district enlisted Johnson Controls to design and implement a security strategy that was expandable – starting with access control. The school district chose an access control system that connected all exterior doors at its buildings. This system allowed building doors to automatically unlock in the morning and stay open while students arrived, but once the school bell rang to start the day, doors automatically locked. Previously, the doors were left open, allowing access to the school via several different locations. The new strategy directs visitors into one main entrance, ensuring they check-in and check-out of school grounds.

Once access control was addressed, school leaders looked into connecting its new access control solution with video surveillance. The integration of these two security systems not only helped the school district gain a better understanding of who went in and out of their buildings, but also provided more insights to substantiate and review concerns like bullying. In order to successfully monitor its new security approach, the school district chose a web-enabled functionality to control the connected systems and ultimately help make the district’s security team more efficient in managing and maintaining the safety of its buildings.

Long-Term Benefits of Integrated Systems

By launching an integrated security strategy, the Washington school district has been able to achieve three main goals – convenience, accountability and efficiency.

  • Convenience: Since the solutions are district-wide and managed through one database, teachers and staff can travel from school to school with the same access card. If a card is lost, the district can simply deactivate and reissue a card without the hassle of rekeying school doors.
  • Accountability: Previously, keys were sometimes given to students if they wanted to use the gym during out-of-school hours, but there was no formal record kept. Thanks to the connected access control and video surveillance systems, district security can more easily identify who else has been granted access and find video footage related to access events.
  • Efficiency: The district also rents out the gym to various groups, which meant that someone would need to be on-site to unlock the doors and return to lock them. Now, renting the gym is hassle-free as a group leader can pick up the access card during school hours, and the card is pre-programmed to automatically activate and deactivate at set hours.

Most importantly, in addition to accomplishing its desired goals, the Washington school district was able to upgrade and evolve its security systems all while staying within the district’s operating budget.

Interested in how an integrated security strategy could help your school district? Learn how we help K-12 facilities become safer, smarter and more sustainable here.