Security Doors for Schools: Incorporating Access Control Systems Alongside Security Glazing

By September 15, 2023 January 9th, 2024 Uncategorized

For schools across the United States, ensuring the safety and security of students, staff and faculty is a top concern.

With the tragic rise in active threat scenarios at American schools, it has unfortunately become necessary for schools to implement more advanced security technologies to create a secure learning environment, while still fostering a welcoming, open educational space.

Access control systems and security glazing are two critical components that, when combined, form a robust defense against potential threats, including violent attackers.

The Role of Access Control Systems in School Door Security

Access control systems, or systems that help control the flow of students, employees, and visitors in and out of buildings, are an indispensable component of modern school security strategies.

These systems allow educational institutions to manage, monitor, and restrict access to specific areas of a campus, helping to prevent unauthorized entry and potential threats, especially those that put the physical well-being of students, teachers, and others at risk.

Benefits of Incorporating Access Control Systems into Security Doors for Schools

Controlled Access

As their name suggests, access control systems allow schools to control who enters the premises, ensuring that only authorized individuals gain access. This prevents outsiders, including potential intruders, from freely wandering through school buildings.

Examples of access control systems for school doors include:

  • Biometric (unlocked using fingerprints, facial recognition, or other biometric reference points)
  • Card-based (unlocked using a key card, which can be incorporated into student and staff IDs)
  • Keypad (unlocked using an alphanumeric password)
  • Mobile-based (unlocked from mobile devices, such as smartphones)

Customized Permissions

Different areas of a school may have varying levels of security requirements. Access control systems enable administrators to set up customized access permissions based on roles, ensuring that only approved personnel can enter through certain doors.

security door 1

All students and staff would have authorization to enter a school through the primary entryway, but only certain people could gain access through secondary entryways. For example, custodians may be able to access facilities through back or side doors.

These types of customized permissions further reduce the possibilities of unauthorized intruders finding a way into schools undetected.

Real-time Monitoring

These systems also provide real-time monitoring of access points, allowing security personnel and other schools staff to track and record individuals’ movements. In case of any suspicious activity, immediate action can be taken, minimizing potential threats.

Emergency Lockdown

Access control systems offer the ability to implement rapid lockdown procedures. In the event of a security breach or another emergency situation, authorized personnel can initiate a lockdown with the push of a button, securing the entire school or specific areas inside the school within seconds.

Integration with Other School Security Systems

Access control systems can be seamlessly integrated with other security technologies, such as surveillance cameras and alarms, creating a comprehensive security network that enhances overall safety and security for all the people and property on school grounds.

Limitations of Access Control Systems

While access control systems are a crucial element of school security, it’s important to acknowledge their limitations.

Access control alone cannot prevent intruders from gaining access through vulnerable points, such as unprotected doors and windows.

Even if a would-be intruder can’t unlock a door from the outside and walk right in, it’s still possible for them to break a vulnerable pane of glass and open up a door from the inside or climb in through the broken glass.

This is where security glazing comes into play…

Reinforcing School Doors with Security Glazing

Reinforcing school doors with security glazing involves the installation of specialized glass or transparent glass-like materials designed to withstand significant impact and force over existing glass surfaces.

When strategically applied to vulnerable areas like doors and windows, security glazing acts as a physical access denial barrier, impeding unauthorized access and deterring potential intruders.

security door 2

Why Security Glazing Is a Vital Addition To School Security Door Access Control Systems

Virtually Unbreakable Glass Protection

Standard annealed glass, and even tempered safety glass, can shatter easily upon impact, granting intruders quick access.

Security glazing, on the other hand, is engineered to resist penetration, making it significantly more difficult for unauthorized individuals to breach entry points.

Using plastic-based security glazing, which looks and feels like traditional glass, but offers the strength of polycarbonates, acrylics, and other plastics, is one of the best options for schools, as forced entry attempts will bounce right off these types of glazing shields.

In fact, certain types of security glazing, such as glass-clad polycarbonate (GCP) glazing, can even stop a certain number of bullets from specific firearms, like those commonly encountered during active threat scenarios.

Delaying Intrusion

Security glazing creates a delay in an intruder’s ability to gain access, providing valuable time for law enforcement to respond to a potential threat. This delay could be crucial in preventing or minimizing harm.

When a would-be intruder starts attempting to gain unauthorized access to a school protected by security glazing, people inside have time to react by running, hiding, barricading themselves inside somewhere safe, and waiting for the authorities to arrive and neutralize the threat.

Forced Entry Deterrence

The presence of security glazing sends a clear message to potential intruders that gaining access to the school premises is a formidable challenge. This deterrence factor can discourage unauthorized entry attempts altogether, causing perpetrators to abandon their attack.

Protection Against Other Threats

Security glazing is not only effective against intruders, but also provides protection against other threats, including extreme weather conditions, vandalism, burglary, and accidents.

This multi-faceted approach to school security enhances overall school safety within any educational facility.

Complimentary To Access Control

When incorporated alongside access control systems, security glazing provides the extra physical security that many schools are missing.

These two key components of a comprehensive school security system work in tandem to keep bad guys out and maintain a safe, welcoming learning environment.

Key Takeaways

For schools that want to improve the safety and security of their students, faculty, and staff, the integration of access control systems and security glazing should be a top priority.

While access control systems effectively manage and monitor access to different areas of a school, security glazing provides a tangible physical barrier against potential threats.

By acknowledging the limitations of access control alone and leveraging the benefits of security glazing, educational institutions can take a proactive, comprehensive approach to schools that minimizes risks and promotes a safe learning environment for all.