School and district leaders are focused on the most effective ways to ensure a safe and secure learning environment for students and staff. They want and need to be able to secure their school campus and quickly communicate with the broader education community to include parents.

As each day seemingly brings new challenges, educators have unfortunately been forced to consider this issue at depth. At the same time, legislators continue to debate the security issue and school leaders are left to wonder, “What can we do nowto improve the safety and security of our schools?”

The broader debate sometimes leaves out one powerful supporting tool—technology. Technology has proven time and again to help solve today’s challenges, and the safety and security of a school is no exception. Today’s best security practices call for school-wide electronic access control and integrated video surveillance systems that are designed specifically for the education community.

Electronic Access Control

At its simplest, this is made up of electronic locks, card readers, and a central control mechanism. The configuration of these components enables administrators with dynamic options to secure specific access points or doors. Whether it’s an exterior door, hallway door, or school lab, special consideration for securing these areas should be made. The technology to provide electronic access control to schools has become more versatile, sophisticated, and user-friendly. So much so, that it’s now possible to be alerted to intrusions, remotely lockdown a school, and provide momentary unlocking capabilities all from a mobile device.

Video Surveillance

These systems provide the technology that enables real-time awareness and intelligence of what’s occurring at a school. While many schools already have video surveillance systems in place, when integrated with access control systems, these systems exponentially increase their utility. In emergency situations, time is of the essence. When security officials are trying to corroborate information during emergencies, “Is there an intruder? Where is the intruder? Do we need to lock down the building and alert authorities?” being able to take action from a single, integrated system, is critical.

Communicating Effectively with the School Community

As school leaders need to effectively engage and communicate with their school community, this too becomes a critical component to school safety and security. Technology has enabled more effective methods of communication and now empowers school leaders to take immediate, proactive action to stay ahead of any situation by sending voice notifications, text messages, email alerts and social media updates.

The safety and security of a school is one of today’s unfortunate challenges and technology designed specifically to meet these challenges exists today. School leaders must consider implementing effective, new, and integrated technology to ensure a safe and secure learning environment.

To learn more about Blackboard’s security solutions designed for education, please visit Blackboard School Safety.

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