SDM Magazine Features IST’s Michael Ruddo on Why It’s Easier Than Ever for Schools to Step Up Security
Strong security is a necessity for those charged with the safekeeping of students, teachers, administrators and other employees in K-12 school districts.
Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to implement an effective security system. IST’s Vice President of Business Development, Michael Ruddo, recently spoke with SDM Magazine about school security. He was featured on the November cover and offered valuable insights into many of the challenges and opportunities presented by the K-12 security market.
Across the country, school districts increasingly seek security integrators like Integrated Security Technologies to help secure their schools and protect them against active shooters, as well as provide day-to-day security needs. With the threats facing schools today, security budgets are now highly prioritized, says Ruddo.
Why is high security a high priority for schools now? Experts identify three drivers for this trend:
- Active Shooter Situation: The most powerful incentive is the need for protection against an active shooter. While statistically this event is the least likely to happen, it is often the most high profile issue due to its sheer capacity for devastation.
- New Government E-Rate Program: This tax-funded program offers schools both discounts and incentives to upgrade their networking infrastructure and clear the way for security systems.
- Rapidly Evolving Security Technology: Security systems have simply become more and more affordable as the technology has progressed.
In addition to the fear created by shooter scenarios, Ruddo notes that the accessibility of money is really motivating more schools to address their security issues.
“There is more state and federal funding available for them through grant programs,” Ruddo said.
With these budgets, schools are now able to afford to work with integrators holistically to create system-wide plans, rather than just subscribing to the one-off relationships they have favored in the past.
Set Up for Security: Implementation’s Easier When There’s a Base
Also, since schools now have more network infrastructure already in place, integrators can easily design a comprehensive security system.
“Fortunately security technologies have migrated to the IP/IT infrastructure,” Ruddo said. “Since this has already been built for collaborative and educational reasons, it is getting to the point where everything is IP-based, from the computers to the AV systems with smart boards.”
Schools then purchase cameras, perimeter security hardware, and electronic and mechanical locks for the classrooms.
A Changed Culture Means Security Comes First
Our culture is ready for it. We are experiencing what Mark Berger, president and chief product officer, Securitech Group Inc., New York City, and Vice Chair of the ASIS International School Safety and Security Council, calls it the “airportization” of schools.
Multiple school shootings have forced districts to take a defensive approach and screen everyone who wants to enter. Visitors ranging from parents to delivery people are now buzzed in to most schools through an intercom that many times features a camera too.
As schools seek to be better prepared for a catastrophic security threat—as well as handle their day-to-day custodial, bullying, or fighting issues—implementing effective security systems will continue to be a major priority.
We’ll explore “How to Succeed in Securing Schools” in our next post. What are you hearing about school security these days?