03 Jan 2013

Elementary School Security Issues – Why Newtown Must Be The Spark For Additional Security Measures

Comments Off on Elementary School Security Issues – Why Newtown Must Be The Spark For Additional Security Measures Campus Security, Featured Articles, ID Cards

On December 14, 2012, the unspeakable happened. Adam Peter Lanza, age 20, fatally shot 20 schoolchildren and (6) adult staff members at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in the quiet village of Newtown, CT, also killing his own mother, and taking his own life when initial first-responders arrived on-scene. Newtown is now the 2nd-deadliest school shooting in US history (behind the 2007 VA Tech massacre) and presents the nation with some stark elementary school security issues to face. While the Newtown massacre has (understandably) raised the issue of arming school principals / administrators (not to mention the need for earlier intervention with the mentally ill), another, less controversial option can be agreed upon by all: That the implementation of student ID cards—now more than ever—should be a central part of any school’s security plan. That’s because while the horrific scale of violence at Newtown was an aberration, unfortunately, school violence is on the rise across all of America.

Elementary School Security Issues That Need Attention

The FBI’s 2011 Uniform Crime Report established that there were 2,696 violent crime incidents and 87,160 property crime incidents on / around college campuses in just 2011 alone. This number is staggering in and of itself. Unfortunately, those numbers are growing, and show no sign of slowing down, and have been steadily increasing since the year 2000. Security-wise, the status quo is no longer enough: Schools—from elementary through to colleges—must rethink their approach to security from the ground up.

Today, educational institutions nationwide are reevaluating their security methods—and increasingly, finding ways to utilize student (and staff) ID cards campus-wide. Yesterday’s basic photo ID cards are now sophisticated, powerful weapons against security breaches—including such elements as holographic overlaminates, smart card chips, custom background photography, over-the-edge retransfer printing and custom graphic designs. Administrators and police find that these easy-to-make changes are dramatically boosting student security. Meanwhile, these improved ID cards are boosting productivity and effectiveness—making the cards more cost-feasible year-round. In fact, the advantages are many-fold.

For example, enhancements to existing card designs can reduce a card’s vulnerability to counterfeiting, thus increasing security campus-wide. As a result, many campuses are choosing to incorporate holographic security elements—which are nearly impossible to forge, and easy to authenticate. Such simple elements as hot-stamped foils make financial sense for even the smallest schools (including elementary schools).

Student ID cards are having practical, everyday effects, too. Students found roaming the hallways are directed back to their classrooms. (Meanwhile, this same technology can also be applied at hospitals, nursing homes and other locations where roaming patients pose challenges.) One NYC school district has tied its ID card program for substitute teachers into the local criminal justice system. New teachers—the moment they scan their cards—are automatically checked against a master NYPD criminal database.

Campus security is no longer a luxury—or an option. Embarking upon an ID card makeover can be one of the most beneficial and cost-effective security initiatives implemented by administrators and campus law enforcement. ID card makeovers don’t have to be extreme, either. While ID cards may not be enough to prevent the next Newtown tragedy—nothing short of arming principals could have done that. On the other hand, any good law enforcement or security professional knows that deterrents are powerful strategies in reducing crime. And what better method is so readily available than an affordable, thorough student ID card system?

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