Fostering a safe learning environment

One of the main goals of any educational facility, whether elementary (primary), secondary or post-secondary, is to provide a safe environment for students to learn. Fostering a safe learning environment allows teachers, parents, students, and staff to feel confident that they are secure within the facilities at all times.

Physical security plays a large role in providing that safety through video surveillance, access control and more. In particular, analytics has had a significant impact on improving safety in educational facilities in recent years. Video analytics built into the surveillance system can alert on-campus personnel, including security teams, more quickly to an ongoing threat or incident, deter intruders to prevent damage, and make post incident searches easier to manage and faster to complete. This reduces the need to divert resources to clean up damage, while also allowing students and teachers to be more focused on learning, and parents to feel more confident that their children are safe.

Personal safety

Each campus presents its own unique challenges from within its own walls, while also having to deal with potential external threats.

An elementary or middle school may have to deal with unwanted visitors lingering around the building or students fighting while on their lunch break. In comparison, a university campus is more likely to face issues around assault or violence after hours, in tougher lighting conditions with fewer people around to warn or call for help.

For unwanted or suspicious visitors, a video camera coupled with analytics to identify loitering can send a notification directly to an operator, alerting them to the potential threat and allowing them to decide if it requires further attention. At the same time, audio analytics can listen out for aggressive behavior or shouts for help to get support to the scene more quickly or, if after hours, trigger an emergency call automatically.

Protecting assets

Budgeting for a school year is always a matter of weighing cost versus benefit. If the school is subjected to vandalism or theft, it can be costly to spend money replacing stolen equipment or direct resources to cleaning up after an incident. Fortunately, most edge-based analytics today can help to mitigate these types of incidents, reducing the overall cost of operations. As an added benefit, this technology is often embedded within surveillance cameras and available for free – depending on the manufacturer.

Graffiti, defacing school monuments or statues, arson, general damage, or vandalism of athletic fields… the list of potential issues faced by educational facilities goes on. Often, these incidents happen after school hours when there are no staff on site to catch the perpetrators in the act. Many school campuses have the added complication of not being entirely fenced. While this opens school grounds up so that people can use them as a shortcut home, to walk their pets, or to use the basketball nets, it can make it more difficult to prevent damage or vandalism.

However, the answer to protecting assets is not necessarily fencing schools in. Instead, schools can combine loitering analytics in their surveillance system with network audio speakers or a network strobe siren to take a more proactive approach to protecting the campus from such unwanted and costly behavior. The cameras can judge when someone has spent too much time on the property to just be walking through and then automatically play a sound or a message asking the person to move along. If the message is not heeded, a secondary alarm can then trigger a notification to campus security or a guard service.

Theft of school equipment, like computers and other valuables, can also be mitigated by using an integrated solution like this. Ensuring that assets are thoughtfully covered during the design phase of the security system, with cameras present in high value areas, tends to act as a successful deterrent. If there is an incident of theft, the video can then be used to identify the culprit and support the investigation.

There are many factors to consider when it comes to fostering a safe learning environment. It is important for all involved – from parents and teachers to mental health professionals, law enforcement and other members of the community – to work together proactively to ensure a safe and inclusive environment. Technology plays a key part of each facility’s comprehensive plan to keep students safe and help them make the most of their education.

Find out more about the role of surveillance in creating safer learning environments

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