The complexity of ensuring our schools and education facilities are both safe and secure has grown tremendously. Brass key systems are increasingly supplemented with secure credentials as access management has become more critical. The continued development of mass notification systems and video surveillance has made them critical components of a holistic security solution. And now, a major next step is upon us in the evolution of physical security as we look to more effectively manage lock-down procedures.

In the past five years, the biggest change in school security has been to transition from the idea of the big red button–where a single action locks all openings–to a more sectored approach. The new way of thinking is that the big red button locks down perimeter and exterior doors, but interior doors are locked locally based on location, situation, and teacher and faculty decision.

When discussing why this change is appropriate, it is important to look at the specific needs of education campuses today. Physical school security can be broken down to subsections, including perimeter fencing and gates, the building exterior, visitor-access management, and interior spaces. In previous iterations of lockdowns, systems were developed that allowed one system to lock every door: the centrally controlled, universal-lockdown concept.

The biggest changes to school security in 2018

So why make the change toward the locally controlled/situational-awareness strategy? Why move to universally shuttering exterior openings while allowing faculty and staff to determine what interior doors and openings are locked during an emergency?

(Next page: How to switch to a situational-awareness solution)

About the Author:

Ron Baer is the Director of Business Development – K-12 for ASSA ABLOY, an $8b multinational manufacturer of architectural opening solutions and innovation leader. Ron works nationally, from the Atlanta area, consulting public and private K-12 leaders on campus-wide physical safety, security, and electronic access control. The ASSA ABLOY Americas Division includes 24 operating companies, working in collaboration with 20 support offices throughout the U.S.