How geofencing, data analytics, and more are making our schools safer
By Mike McCarty, Founder & CEO of Safe Hiring Solutions
It is unfortunate that our schools are on such high alert that they have to monitor and enhance their security to keep students, teachers, and administrators safe.
School security has become a top concern for all given the prevalence of violence and threats of violence in schools of all grades.
According to Education Week, in 2019 there were 14 school shootings ending in 23 people killed or injured. In 2018, there were 24 school shootings with 114 people killed or injured.
As more tragedies occur, the demand for the most comprehensive and robust school security technology is rising.
Thankfully, technology provided by Safe Hiring Solutions provides the best approach to managing this challenge effectively in a variety of places, schools included.
SafeVisitor, an extension of Safe Hiring Solutions, is a leading visitor management system in the United States that is fully integrated with a background screening provider to offer a complete suite of background screening solutions for all visitors, volunteers, and vendors.
Systems like this empower accuracy by ensuring the timeliest responsiveness possible and seamless integration with law enforcement.
The school visitor management system may begin at the front door but permeates the entire building, providing a seamless dashboard that creates full and restricted access levels only to certain areas, while also alerting security and law enforcement.
Basic components include a video surveillance system, the ability to produce temporary ID badges, and metal detectors.
A more sophisticated visitor management system starts at the sign-in process, where registrations should be integrated with a national criminal database and a background screening system that is preferably a police level background check.
It is also possible to activate your companies own exclusion list to this process as well.
Visitor identity checks should not only include government issued identifications that are scanned, but also biometric technology for additional authentication that includes fingerprinting, recognition of palms and faces, scanners for concealed and exposed weapons, and reporting.
Then, there is real time visitor tracking so you always know where someone is.
Yes, geofencing is a great marketing tool, but it can also be a lifesaving one.
Geofencing is a great tool for monitoring arrivals of both volunteers, vendors, or even employees.
Today, many schools and workplaces are now using geofencing to set parameters around their school buildings, campus, and parking lots school buildings, parking lots to create virtual boundaries.
Paired with Safe Hiring Solutions technology, you can let internal security or law enforcement know of an emergency situation. If you’re in a situation where you can’t talk, you can still share your location and be found quickly.
This tool enables the school resource officers to move freely about a facility without having to check in at every location.
Additional elements that include real-time arrest alerts, geofencing, and the ability to alert internal security and law enforcement within seconds, are also key factors to determine how advanced the visitor management system is.
Real Time Arrest Alerts
ArrestAlert is a new solution that changes all the rules in background screening.
Safe Hiring Solutions integration with more than 80% of the jails in the U.S. allows you to find criminal history outside areas in which a candidate or employee has lived or worked.
It also offers real-time monitoring that can reduce the cost of re-checks and provide alerts that can be acted upon immediately by ensuring that an employee, volunteer, or vendor who is arrested of a violent offense is uncovered immediately rather than waiting on the annual re-check.
Alert Internal Security and Law Enforcement
SafeVisitor has an Excluded Parties flag that can be used with people who have made threats against a school, protective orders, policy issues or sex offenders trying to gain access to children.
Schools can also use this technology to flag when a student who has been expelled or suspended tries to gain access to school. The “Denied Entry” trigger will send a text and/or email to security, administrators or whomever you designate.
Safe Hiring Solutions integrates with top in class security solutions to provide real-time alert notifications that can be sent directly to law enforcement.
We know from research and mass active shooting events like Parkland that seconds matter.
Waiting for someone to make a 911 call, then have it processed and pushed to law enforcement can take minutes. Minutes can be an eternity in a mass shooting event.
But what about the people already at the schools?
It’s also important to have security partners.
For example, Safe Hiring Solutions has an integration that provides law enforcement alert systems, incident reporting, anonymous texting, and license plate reading technology to alert security when an expelled or suspended student comes on property.
Hiring the right staff is key.
The systems for schools are not only software based, but also leverage proprietary hardware that has been created by only a few of the best in the industry.
Despite advances in technology, there remain challenges that include a lack of awareness that these systems even exist for schools, varying state laws, budget constraints, and a lack of infrastructure to support new technology.
Today, students and parents are demanding school administrators do everything they can to prevent future shootings like the ones in Parkland, Florida, Santa Fe, Texas, and Newtown, Connecticut.
School Security Software in Action
One school that will kick off the 2019-2020 school year with some of this technology, is Florida’s Hillsborough County school district.
The district, in and around Tampa, will be utilizing visitor location tracking, SafeVisitor – Safe Hiring Solutions proprietary visitor management system to identify all visiting parties and to conduct a National Sex Offender registry check, and volunteer background checks with an arrest alert for 50,000 volunteers.
It’s ultimately up to the schools to implement systems that will keep people safe on campus.
While visitor management technology is still evolving and is not 100% preventative, it is the best measure available today to keep our schools safe.
Every second counts and this technology is one solution we have at our fingertips to ensure school safety.
For more on how you can implement school security software and systems, click here.