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How to Improve the Security of Your K-12 School Campus

PK-12 schools must hold themselves to increasingly high-security standards, including being able to scan and track campus comings and goings of all students, visitors and staff.  In a recent survey, we found that:

  • 83 percent do not have proper intelligent technology to automatically screen vehicles entering and leaving campus, or to manage visitors.
  • 61 percent are unsatisfied with how they manage information about “authorized” drivers and do not have a way for school staff to easily access authorized driver data when it’s really needed.
  • 35 percent of vehicles entering school campuses are “unknown”, especially during drop-off and pickup.
  • 41 percent do not have a robust method for communicating student arrival and dismissal changes.

This tells us a few things.  Many PK-12 schools are still facing two (2) major problems – Campus Safety and Dismissal Management.

When it comes to Campus Safety…from the moment anyone drives onto campus, schools need to know 3 critical things – ESPECIALLY DURING DROP-OFF and DISMISSAL TIMES when the campus is most vulnerable:

  1. Who are they?
  2. Do they belong on campus?
  3. Why are they here?

Let’s talk about the 2nd problem area, Dismissal Management (the most chaotic part of the day, and where schools are most vulnerable)… This makes it extremely important for schools to answer questions like:

  1. Are we sending the carline student home with authorized drivers?
  2. Are we putting students on the right bus?
  3. Are students being checked into the right activity?
  4. Are walkers allowed to walk home?

Here are some simple–but essential–tips and best practices schools can follow to enhance safety & accountability, and reduce exposure in a cost-effective scalable way.

1. Perimeter security: Gather as much data on the vehicle entering/leaving

  • Integrate automated license plate recognition (ALPR) or RFID/toll tag data into your driver screening process when they enter/exit
  • There are several use cases where you can leverage license plate or toll tag data – for example;
    • Screening vehicles to proactively identify visitors, vendors, parents, staff, and student drivers
    • Sending proactive instant alerts of unwanted drivers to security personnel
    • Check parents into carline during dismissal
    • Track visitors and vendors
    • Are student drivers allowed to leave the campus?
    • Opening gates based on driver type and time of day access rules that you setup & control

2. PK-12 Centric Visitor management: Leverage visitor management technologies that are built for PK-12 education by scanning, tracking, and managing all campus visitors

  • Perform a background check (when required)
  • Print badges
  • Let staff or faculty know their visitors have arrived
  • Pre-book visitors to enable license plate based check-in
  • Add and screen field trip parents, and pre-print badges
  • Check in late arrival students, with notification
  • Check-out early dismissal students, with parent validation and notification

3. Driver authorization: Have an up-to-date and readily accessible authorized driver lists

  • Best practice is to make parent-managed real-time driver lists available to school administrators and teachers – used during early pickups, dismissal, aftercare pickup, etc.
  • That way, when a grandparent, new nanny or friend’s parent comes to school to pickup a student, the adult is seamlessly authorized.

4. Student arrival and dismissal change management: Provide a system-of-record for tracking and managing student-related scheduling changes.

  • Schools can dramatically improve their control and accountability around student safety when they are able to manage accurate real-time student arrival and dismissal schedules
  • Parents should easily self-manage and communicate student changes in real time, so that all relevant staff and teachers know where each student is scheduled to be during the school day, and at the end of the school day
  • Students are at the very center of school safety, and their schedules change constantly. When parents direct an early pick-up or late arrival, for instance, schools must be able to collect, track and immediately communicate these changes to the right people.

5. Carline automation, bus boarding, walker dismissal, and after-school activity management: Real-time tools can help school staff know when authorized drivers are in carline, check students onto buses or into after-school activities based on parent-managed schedules

  • Dismissal is the riskiest time of day and requires schools to direct students in a multitude of directions.
  • Similarly, accurate bus manifests can ensure that the right students board the right buses every day, enabling on-time bus departures and parent notification.
  • With accurate after-school rosters, school staff can check students in and out of activities.
  • Ad-hoc bus riders and unscheduled activity attendance data can also be exported for more accurate billing

6. Emergency Attendance: Real-time tools can help schools quickly account for staff, teachers, and students during an emergency.

  • Provide teachers and staff to account for their location and health during any emergency event or drill
  • An authorized administrator should be able to quickly initiate and control a campus event
  • Teachers and staff should receive a text message to report their location, their health status, and any students in their proximity
  • An authorized super admin should be able to see

Learn more about how the SchoolPass platform can help.