Violence in schools is too often in the headlines.

As a result, improving school safety has become as much of a priority as improving test scores.

With threats and incidents of physical violence and cyberattacks on the rise, school leaders are faced with the constant challenge of how to shield students and staff from harm. And just like the best teaching methods are multidisciplinary, the most effective school safety programs blend a variety of technology tools, prevention methods, and training strategies.

Traditional systems such as video surveillance, intrusion alarms, and metal detectors help security teams monitor activity and minimize the chance of someone bringing a weapon into a building. Schools also are exploring how technology used for educational and administrative purposes—tools such as such as artificial intelligence, data analysis, and radio frequency identification (RFID)—can enhance security.

RFID, in particular, can be a bridge between a school’s safety and student tracking goals. It uses radio waves to read and capture information stored in a tag attached to an object or a person. A fixed or mobile reader can read multiple tags in seconds from up to twelve meters away without a direct line of sight.

This technology has applications for everything from alerting parents when their child has gotten off the bus to taking attendance to remotely controlling building access. Some systems can generate reports on red-flag behaviors among at-risk students—things like increased visits to the school nurse or counselor. RFID can even establish radio communication between an ID card and a cell phone or tablet—which could be lifesaving in an emergency.

RFID does add to the amount of student data a school collects, but it can be implemented without being too intrusive. Radio signals from student ID cards are easily encrypted.

Combined with vigilance, common sense, and conventional tools, emerging technology like RFID accountability systems provide another layer of protection against threats that are hitting increasingly closer to home in our communities. It’s important for school leaders to consider all of the solutions available and develop a security strategy that has the best chance of interrupting a threat no matter where it comes from. 

If you want to discuss how your current security system is working and how you can use technology to improve that system, call Vartek at 800-954-2524.