There are two truisms of K-12 schools that exist today:
First, safety and security are core objectives. Second, school budgets are tight. These two truisms offer more questions than answers for superintendents, principals, teachers, board members, and parents. Questions like: What school security solutions can we deploy that actively combat rising violence? How can we cost-effectively implement such tools? We want to improve school security and efficiency at the same time, but how?
Key control systems provide a viable and economically feasible solution.
At their most basic level, key control systems are designed to securely protect keys in an electronic key cabinet. At their most complex, key control systems are an integral piece of the larger security puzzle – helping schools of all sizes to manage security and operations effectively during both emergencies and daily operations.
Consider the following reasons why key control is more than just a nice-to-have feature for K-12 schools:
1. Enhances overall school security
In a traditional school key control system, keys are securely stored within individual compartments with each key uniquely assigned and tracked. Authorized users gain access to specific keys by providing their credentials, such as a PIN or biometric authentication, which grants them permission to remove a key from its designated compartment. In this way, schools can effectively manage and track access to various areas throughout a building or campus, thus minimizing the risk of unauthorized entry, vandalism, and theft.
2. Reduces security expenses
Beyond the concern of having a key fall into the wrong hands, the loss of a key can necessitate expensive refitting of locks with loss of one master key easily costing a school tens of thousands of dollars in re-keying. With a key control system, it is easy to find the specific key needed and limit the use of masters to authorized individuals. Key control solutions can also be configured with asset management lockers to safeguard critical assets such as laptops and radios, further reducing possible theft and improving compliance.
3. Improves emergency response times
During emergency situations, such as active shooter events, a centralized key control system ensures that emergency keys are securely housed and readily accessible to local first responders. Responding officers can swiftly retrieve required keys, such as those for locked classrooms or secured areas, enabling them to enter and address the situation promptly. Rapid first responder key accessibility significantly improves response times and effectiveness during critical incidents and gives parents peace of mind, knowing that their children's school is equipped with robust security measures to handle emergencies efficiently.
4. Ensures staff accountability
Key control systems provide real-time visibility and monitoring capabilities, allowing administrators to track who has accessed keys, when, and for what purpose. Enforcing employee accountability strengthens security measures and fosters a safer environment for students, faculty, and staff. Key control systems also help schools maintain compliance with regulatory requirements, such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which requires the control of access to private medical and academic files.
5. Promotes operational efficiency
With a key control system in place, school maintenance personnel can quickly access the keys they need to complete necessary tasks, eliminating time-consuming searches for the right key or the need for multiple key copies. This helps maintenance teams respond to maintenance requests faster without compromising security or disrupting daily operations. Additionally, key control systems help with the management of fleet vehicles by effectively controlling access to their keys, allowing administrators to monitor vehicle availability, manage maintenance schedules, and optimize fleet utilization.
The implementation of key control systems in K-12 schools continues to be a proven solution that promotes a safe and efficient educational environment. By deploying a key control system, schools can effectively address security concerns, optimize operations, and make efficient use of resources.