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Chapter 4   Entry-Control Technologies

Many school administrators contend that the majority of the security problems and incidents at their schools are the result of an unauthorized person being on campus (albeit the vast majority of these unauthorized persons are in some way related to the school or to students at the school). These trespassers can include a school's own suspended or expelled students, students from rival schools, irate parents seeking revenge against a student or employee, gang members, or even drug dealers. It is logical, then, that if a school were able to carefully control exactly who was able to enter the campus or school buildings, security incidents would drop significantly. This is easier said than done.

Schools can often prevent or discourage the casual intruder. Some of the less technical, though often quite effective, approaches to deterring unauthorized entry are:

  • Posted signs warning that unauthorized trespassers are subject to arrest.
  • Signs that inform visitors that all vehicles brought onto campus are subject to search by the school.
  • A guard who is checking identifications at the main entrance gate to the campus.
  • Vehicle parking stickers so that any vehicle found parked on campus without a sticker, other than in the monitored visitor lot, is subject to being ticketed and towed.
  • Uniforms for students, which make outsiders very identifiable.
  • A school policy of no hats; no droopy pants; no t-shirts with alcohol, drug, violence, or gang affiliation messages; or no exposed tattoos, which again can help make outsiders identifiable.
  • Greeters at all open entrances to school (these can be parent volunteers).
  • Minimal numbers of entrances to the campus and to the school. Superfluous exterior doors should be locked to prevent entry from the outside and labeled inside: "For emergency exit only-alarm will sound."
  • A policy that anyone walking around campus during classtime will be challenged for a pass and/or student ID and is subject to being searched or even scanned by a metal detector to be checked for weapons and/or drugs.
  • The main student parking lot (which does not include parking for work-study students) closed off and locked during the day. Make entry to school during the schoolday possible only through the front office.
  • Fencing around campus that will discourage the casual intruder and better define school property.
  • A policy that, when a student is expelled or suspended, his or her student ID is confiscated and (for a larger school) his or her picture is made available to the security staff.

     



    Research Report:   The Appropriate and Effective Use of Security Technologies in U.S. Schools