Fallout from lost school keys can add up for any school district over time. The following three scenarios involving keys in K-12 schools are fictitious, yet they may have happened to a plethora of K-12 schools time and again. We just do not regularly hear about them.
Key control issues can be resolved in your school district. Read on to find out how investing in electronic key control mitigates lost key incidents, saving school districts hundreds to thousands of dollars while boosting physical and access control security.
“What-If” School Keys Incident #1:
- A school administrator left their work keys and ID badge in their car. The car was stolen with the keys and badge inside. To avoid potential security breaches, the school refitted the locks and keys, costing the school district hundreds of dollars.
Key Control Solution and Benefit:
Improved Key Security and Inventory Tracking
- Key control systems save school districts re-keying expenses and potential liability when work keys are secured and tracked in an electronic key control cabinet 24 and 7. When access control credentials are entered into the system, keys are dispensed to authorized users within seconds at the start of the workday. At the end of the workday, keys are simply returned to the key control cabinet where they remain until the next school day. Keys are always secured and tracked, reducing the likelihood of them being lost or stolen.
“What-If” School Keys Incident #2:
- A new school secretary used an unsecured key to the principal’s office and removed private student records from a filing cabinet without authorization or permission. Due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the principal now needs to further restrict access to their office keys to avoid potential FERPA violations.
Improved Key Access Control
- When key control systems are used in K-12 schools, key control administrators always know who has the keys, for how long, and for what purposes. Every key transaction is recorded, and an audit trail report is always available. In this instance, the principal can grant permission to the secretary to use the key for a specific purpose at a specific time for a specific duty. The secretary enters their credentials into the key control system, withdraws the key to the principal’s office, and returns it immediately after it is used during the allowed time. Schools can improve compliance with FERPA by enforcing key control policy through key control technology by assigning keys only when employees need them.
“What-If” School Keys Incident #3:
- A school maintenance manager supplied a key to a contractor who needed to access a room to make repairs to the HVAC system. During lunch, the contractor left the school premises and returned to complete the work. At the end of the day, the contractor returned the key to the maintenance manager. However, months later the maintenance manager noticed that several expensive tools were stolen. The contractor duplicated the key during their lunch break, and subsequently stole the tools.
Key Control Solution and Benefit:
Improved Key Control Accountability
- Electronic key control systems replace the need to manually hand out keys to contractors which adds accountability. Contractors gain temporary access to the keys they are authorized to use during specific time periods. In this case, the contractor enters credentials into the system at the beginning of the workday and removes the needed key. During lunch, the contactor must return the key to the system, or an overdue key alarm will sound. After lunch, the contractor removes the key to resume work and returns it to the key cabinet at the end of the day. The key control system records key usage, allowing administrators to track a worker’s activities to ensure accountability.
Electronic key control systems are designed to authenticate and verify all users and keys, ensuring that every key is accounted for and not misplaced. Overall, electronic key control systems are a great investment for K-12 schools as they provide greater security, save money, and help to keep everyone on site safer and more secure.