Perimeter School Security Options

May 2, 2018
Video surveillance and video entry systems play an important role

Despite recent school shootings and casualties in Broward County, Fla., and the facts that the threat of such tragedies has been pretty much accepted as inevitable, there doesn’t seem to have been a unified or systematic program for defense against, or the response to, the threat by many local school districts.

The easiest thing in the world to do is criticize, but after studying the attacks, clearly there is room for improvement.

Workplace violence is a similar phenomenon which can share similar planning and responses.

Failures to anticipate respond or mitigate recent crisis illustrate that although there are some similarities end results of these attacks, there are significant differences in planning and execution, and the security industry and law enforcement have a lot of room for improvement and indicate to some that a proactive defenses and a more consistent set of standards are essential.

The physical security industry has of course, responded with many products to protect schools while still maintaining compliance with well-established life and fire safety standards.

When we use the word Security, we can be describing different parameters:

  • Protecting against unauthorized intruders
  • Protecting against theft and vandalism
  • Protecting occupants from themselves (unauthorized exit from the protected area)

When approaching security in other contexts, such as government or corporate, very often the approach starts with the perimeter and looks for technologies to be used as force multipliers, not simply door locks.

But when you consider the spectrum of educational institutions, the economics of education, the diversity of the demographics of each situation, it is eay to understand the difficulty in arriving at standardization.

I think that professional security providers offer constructive criticisms; that is, make recommendations based on observed deficiencies which are designed to improve the safety and security of their clients.

Code Compliance

NFPA, the preeminent code writing organization, publishes NFPA 730 Guide For Premises Security which describes construction, protection, occupant features, and practices intended to reduce security vulnerabilities to life and property.

NFPA also has other codes you are probably familiar with, or you should be familiar with including but not limited to:

NFPA 70 (A/K/A NEC) THE NATIONAL ELECTRIC CODE (includes low voltage)



Want to learn NFPA codes? I recommend you check out for one of the best resources on NFPA.

There are many similarities between security for school buildings and campuses, and other high risk sites, and I have been involved with many projects, in many places, in a variety of capacities, for many years.

One observation is that a campus is a campus whether it is educational, municipal, retail, medical or corporate.

The difference is that in the case of the educational campus, there is probably minimal security while for the others, there are likely to be guards, cameras and card readers.

A closed campus can define its perimeter and set rules for entry. Open campus such as a city college, uses public streets parking and conveyances. Security is a bigger challenge.

School districts and universities are spread out with many discrete structures. Strategies and perimeters must be established on a site by site basis.

There is a growing number independent schools; technical schools, parochial schools, Yeshivas, daycares, preschools, special education facilities, etc. These operations pose both security challenges and often present building code issues which can jeopardize student safety.

Each school can pose a unique set of variables and therefore present a more specific risk assessment.

Professional security providers hopefully can bring a more global perspective to the school districts so more effective measures can be put into place.

When school districts approach security, they are looking for a comprehensive solution which provides multiple technologies: typically classroom door locks, fire code compliant doors and hardware, perimeter access control, and video surveillance… in that order. and sometimes make the mistake of trusting the integrator and making decisions based on their own limited technical expertise and perhaps preconceptions on risk assessment and the underestimating the value of video surveillance.

IMO video surveillance continues to be an essential forensic tool, but its role now also serves as a proactive real time tool in observation, prediction and interdiction of misbehavior and violence.

AXIS M1125 Network Camera

Using quality technology is a smart decision. Axis is the market leader in network video. They invented the world’s first network camera back in 1996 and continue to be innovators in video surveillance protecting millions of people worldwide and helping to meet the growing need for a smarter, safer world.

Affordable and feature-rich with HDTV 1080p AXIS M1125 is a day and night camera delivering HDTV 1080p video in up to 25/30 frames per second. The camera is fitted with an IR-corrected, varifocal and easily exchangeable CS-mount lens with DC-iris. AXIS M1125 includes Axis Zipstream technology that significantly reduces bandwidth and storage requirements. WDR - Forensic Capture provides video optimized for forensic purposes in scenes with complex light conditions. AXIS M1125 supports Power over Ethernet to simplify installation, microSD card slot for edge storage, digital input and output ports for external connection, as well as enhanced capacity for analytic applications such as people counting and heat mapping.

Features include:

  • HDTV 1080p in up to 25/30 fps
  • Varifocal CS-mount lens
  • Day and night camera
  • WDR - Forensic Capture
  • Axis Zipstream technology

More Information:

Aiphone Q&A

AIPHONE has long been a trusted provider of quality security communications systems, specifically intercom systems and video entry systems. We contacted Aiphone for their stance on the subject of school security and a sampling of their current product offerings.

Locksmith Ledger interviewed Dana Pruiett, marketing manager, Aiphone Corp. Following are the Ledger’s questions and Pruiett;s answers.

Is installing intercoms a good security specialty for locksmiths? 

Many locksmiths are creating or expanding commercial operations to increase income. Among the products they’re offering are low-voltage security equipment, such as intercoms. Locksmiths and intercoms are a natural fit. Intercoms control building entry at the door. And door security has long been associated with locksmiths.

What are some security related applications for intercoms?  

Intercoms are commonly found in single-family and multi-tenant housing, K-12 and higher-education campuses, government facilities, hospitals and enterprise organizations. Virtually any place with a door or a gate can benefit from an intercom helping control who enters.

Outdoors on campuses and in parking facilities, intercom-equipped emergency call stations immediately connect those in distress with first responders.

Intercoms are now serving as a single command point to control a variety of security layers. They can page across multiple stations with general or emergency announcements and scan through video intercoms and CCTV cameras to monitor locations.

Are there any emerging trends in intercom technology and applications?

Intercoms are really about communications. As the security industry continues to move to digital networks, intercoms can provide many more capabilities, such as long-distance communication and control, mobile apps and network paging. The digital revolution is making for smarter, more integrated systems and intercoms play a vital role.

We’re now able to offer large-scale multi-site communications solutions. That’s not just connecting a few buildings on opposite sides of a campus quad, but also those on opposite sides of the country. Using a corporate network, it’s now possible to share information and control units from a few yards to thousands of miles away.

Network paging is another recently added communications tool valuable for routine announcements or emergency instructions.

Please elaborate on your initiatives to introduce locksmiths to supplying and installing intercoms.

Intercoms are among the easiest security components to install. Aiphone makes it even easier with award-winning customer service and technical support. Our QuikSpec design tool, available on our website, allows a locksmith to spec an entire Aiphone system 24/7 – complete with a parts list. We also offer YouTube videos that can be viewed on the job site to see how systems are installed. We also recently launched a completely redesigned website that has made it easier than ever to find what you need and get help when you need it.

Aiphone IX Series IP Video Intercom

The IX Series is Aiphone’s first peer-to-peer, multi-platform video intercom system. With solutions for entry security, internal communication, paging, VMS integration, and a wide range of emergency and rescue options, the IX Series is flexible and scales for almost any application. And with the unique mobile app, guards and staff can now roam onsite while still controlling entrances.

All IX Series stations are PoE (Power-over-Ethernet)

Peer-to-peer design allows quick and simple programming and no single point of failure.

System capacity ranges from small point-of-entry security options, to large-scale commercial applications with hundreds of stations.

Partition station call-ins, door release capability by station, or scheduled transfers between stations.

  • IX Mobile offers the functionality of a physical master station in the form of an App for Android and Apple mobile devices.
  • Batch configure, program, and manage entire systems using the Support Tool programming software.
  • Use ONVIF for 3rd party IP camera, Network Video Recorders, and VMS integration
  • Integration with Lenel® OnGuard®, Software House®, SureView Systems®, KapLogic®, and Emergency24®
  • Scheduled, delayed, or absent call transfer
  • Customizable groups and zones for paging at multiple priority levels.
  • Network Interface: 10 BASE-T / 100 BASE-TX Ethernet (RJ-45)
  • Network Protocols: IPv4, IPv6, TCP, UDP, SIP, HTTP, HTTPS, RTSP, RTP
  • Wire Type: Cat-5e or Cat-6
  • Wiring Distance: 100m (Approx. 330')

Aiphone JP Series

Aiphone bills its JP Series 7" Touchscreen Video Intercom with Room-to-Room Communication as an individual school solution.

The JP Series features a clear 7" touchscreen for menu navigation, door release, and identifying visitors. The system can support up to eight master stations with internal communication, and four door stations for controlled access. Hands-free and handset communication is featured on all inside stations, and picture memory records images internally or onto an SD/SDHC card.

  • Digital PTZ camera eliminates blind spots with 170° wide angle lens
  • Camera can be adjusted to compensate for bright illumination
  • Video output for DVR via supplied cable
  • Video monitoring from master station
  • Capable of single or selective door release
  • Power Source: 24V DC - use PS-2420UL
  • Network Interface: 10 BASE-T / 100 BASE-TX Ethernet (RJ-45)
  • Network Protocols: IPv4, IPv6, TCP, UDP, SIP, HTTP, HTTPS, RTSP, RTP

Wire Type: Door Station to Master Station: 2-cond., mid cap, solid, non-shielded - use Aiphone #871802. For Master Station to Distribution Adaptor, use Cat-5e or Cat-6. For Distribution Adaptor to Sub Master Station, use Cat-5e or Cat-6

Wiring Distance: Master Station to Distribution Adaptor: 650'

Distribution Adaptor to Sub Master Station: 165'

More Info:

School Case Study

A few years ago, with the support of Codelocks, Swann Security and your humble author (me), we provided access control and video surveillance to a private school in Jacksonville, FL which serves autistic children.

This school is somewhat representative of a significant portion of the school market, and their challenges and concerns reflect a credible reflection of the conditions and challenges school administrators all face.

To provide some insights into the requirements and benefits a small school can derive from enhance security and video surveillance we interviewed the Executive Director, Angelo Martinez

How many students are in your school?

We have 27 students in our school and serve more families through our Clinic, Summer and Outreach Programs.

How big is the staff?

We have 14 Teachers and 2 administration staff members.

How many classrooms are there?

We have eight classrooms.

What is your stance on 'school security'?

We try to do everything we can to ensure the safety and security of our staff and students. Our teachers have enough of a challenge and responsibility working with our children with autism who are in the most need of our services. Our students are unable to understand the consequences or can engage in behaviors that can potentially put themselves at risk. Both our teacher and students have enough to be concerned with and need a safe educational environment to be able to thrive.

Did the recent incident in raise concerns?

Yes. We have done a great deal in the past few years to increase our ability to ensure the safety and security of our staff and students. This recent event continues to raise the concern of an outside individual entering the school with the possible purpose to do harm to others.

What do you consider your primary safety concerns?

Although we are a fairly low profile small private school, our biggest concern would be an outside individual trying to enter the school that has bad intentions.

What security measures do you have in place?

We have tried to limit the points of entry to the school. We have trained our staff and students for procedures for events such as fire or weather and do monthly drills. With the help of Tim O’Leary, we have a camera in each classroom. We also have electronic keypads on our doors for entry to each classroom.

What benefits do these measures provide?

The security cameras have provided such a tremendous benefit that is hard to even quantify. First as an administrator, it is of great significance to be able to have eyes on all the classrooms at all times. Also to have the ability to rewind to be able to see any moment or incident that occurs in the classrooms. Teachers also feel more secure and are aware that there in a camera watching them at all times. Parents love the ability to come into the main office to be able to view their child and classroom at any time.

The electronic keypads on all classroom doors allow us to ensure that access to classrooms are safe and secure. Previously teachers would have to actively remember to lock the door each time a staff member, student, parent or anyone came in and out of the classroom. Teachers would also need to make sure they had their keys on them at all times to lock or enter their own classroom. The electronic keypads make it incredibly more easy and convenient while ensuring consistently that classrooms will only be accessed by authorized individuals.

What security/safety upgrades are you considering or planning?

We have taken measure to ensure the safety of the classrooms. We would like to do more to address the entire campus. As a small non-profit school it is always the cost that can prohibit us.

Codelocks CL5510 Smart Lock

The new SMART Lock, CL5510 ANSI Grade 2, makes access control easier, offering flexibility and convenience by providing a range of entry methods including the use of pushbutton code, smart card or smartphone, enabling users to choose the most suitable access method. It utilizes wireless technology to give building managers the ability to program locks via a smartphone, generate and send entry codes for easy access and issue smart cards for alternative entry.

The smart lock supports up to 350 users, with 100 client user codes, 100 phone clients and 150 client smart cards as an alternative entry option. By installing the K3 Connect App*, all aspects of the lock can be managed conveniently, from updating basic settings to creating multiple individual access periods. It is iOS and Android compatible.

Entry can be tightly controlled and monitored by issuing NetCodes, which are generated and sent via email and SMS. The codes can be created with a specific start date and time that automatically expire after a set duration. The ability to offer keyless entry removes the hassle of storing, issuing, and replacing keys. Audit trails allow building managers to keep track of when and where the lock was accessed. The full lock audit trail data can be downloaded and viewed at any time.

The CL5510 can also be set in code-free mode at fixed times of the day, for example when access is required for cleaning, maintenance or deliveries. This removes the need for a key to manually unlock doors. Up to 10 different code-free periods can be created, that automatically enable when scheduled.

he lock can be managed with the K3 Connect App by any Bluetooth compatible smartphone.The App is available on Apple App Store for Apple devices or Google Play™ for Android™ devices by searching for K3 Connect.

Multiple access. The locks provide flexibility and convenience by providing a range of entry methods. Allow employees and clients access via a simple code, allocate and register a MIFARE® compatible card or send an invitation to their phone.

Controlled Code Free Allow access at set times of day by setting the lock into Code Free mode. Removes the hassle of unlocking doors for free access periods. Reduce the administration burden of manually putting locks into Code Free mode.

NetCode Control Entry. Set codes for a specific start date and time and that automatically expire after a set duration. Send these set codes via email or SMS.

Audit Trail Keep track on when and where the lock was accessed. Download and view the full lock audit trail data.

  • Classroom function: Yes
  • Storeroom function: Yes
  • Code free option: Set up to 10 Code Free access periods
  • Door thickness: 35mm - 60mm (1 3/8" - 2 3/8")
  • Keying alike: Locks can be keyed alike on request
  • Key override: Yes
  • Non handed: Lock will fit doors hung on the left or right
  • Power: 4 x AA cells
  • Suitable for: Internal and external use
  • Type: Mortice Latch
  • NetCode: 6 digit
  • Audit Trail: Yes
  • PC Programming: Yes
  • Client User Codes: 100
  • Client Smart Cards: 150
  • Phone Clients: 100
  • Smartphone App: Yes
  • Supporting Cards: MIFARE™ Classic, MIFARE™ Desfire, MIFARE™ Ultralite

More Info:

VIZpin Access Control

VIZpin designs, manufactures and markets a complete access control solution that includes cloud-based management tools (ACaaS), low-cost Bluetooth controllers and smartphone apps. The VIZpin solution provides a secure, convenient and affordable way to unlock any device by using your phone as your key and your network.

The VIZpin Smartphone Access Control System delivers convenient, affordable and secure access control that is perfect for doors, gates, latches and other electrically controlled devices.

VIZpin uses Cloud Management Tools, Bluetooth System Controllers and Smartphone Apps – VIZpin combines all the features of a sophisticated access control panel with a long-range Bluetooth reader in a small, easy to install package.

It’s ideal for new installations or for replacing older access control systems that are no longer supported. VIZpin can even work with your existing card readers, biometrics or keypads.*

With VIZpin you can manage and control access to virtually anything because VIZpin uses your phone as your key and your network, eliminating the hassle and expense of panels, cards, software, IT networks and internet service providers.

Their Cloud Management Tools let you send & revoke secure, encrypted keys from anywhere, anytime to anyone with the VIZpin SMART app.

The keys can have schedules and VIZpin keeps a record of when they were used making it perfect for employees, visitors and contractors.

VIZpin Bluetooth System Controllers work up to 30' (10M) away so they can be mounted out-of-sight in a secure, protected area in architectural or historically sensitive installations as well as keeping your system away from hackers, weather and vandals.

More Info:

Senstar FlexZone and Symphony

Senstar has been safeguarding people, places and property with the world’s largest portfolio of perimeter intrusion detection sensors for over 35 years. Now combined with world-class video management systems and analytics (formerly Aimetis), Senstar offers a comprehensive suite of proven technologies that work together to reduce complexity, improve performance and unify support.

Senstar’s installed perimeter intrusion detection products stretch over 45,000 km (28,000 mi). Our VMS division has over 15,000 deployments globally, over 50 distributors, and over 800 certified partners. Working with their customers and partners, Senstar can adapt solutions with the most appropriate technology to address the level of security required and budget available.

Senstar manufactures, sells and supports the world’s largest portfolio of perimeter intrusion detection (PIDS) sensor technologies and world-class video management systems (VMS) and analytics. Senstar is also a leading provider of pipeline protection, cyber security, and personal duress solutions.

Senstar products can be found protecting assets for the following markets: banking, commercial, corrections, education, energy and industrial, entertainment and hospitality, government, healthcare, military, retail, transportation, and VIP residences.

FlexZone is a cable-based fence-mounted system that detects and locates any attempt to cut, climb or otherwise break through the fence.

FlexZone adapts to a wide variety of fence types and is ideal for sites of all sizes.

Features and benefits

  • Detects and locates intrusions over a distance of up to 600 m (1968 ft) per processor
  • Pinpoints intrusions within 3 m (10 ft)
  • Accurately locates intrusions even when there are multiple simultaneous intrusions and in the presence of background environmental noise
  • Flexible software-based zoning (up to 60 distinct zones per processor)
  • Minimal infrastructure requirements – power and data run over sensor cables
  • Differentiates between point disturbances caused by real intrusions and spatially distributed disturbances such as wind and rain
  • Continues protection even in the event of a cable cut
  • Easy to install and maintain
  • Wireless Gate Sensor option

Symphony™ is a software platform that allows you to control your entire video surveillance system from one central location. Connect and configure cameras, monitor open spaces, implement video analytics, or use centralized cloud management tools for multi-site management.

Features and benefits

  • High scalability
  • Optimized for both recording and streaming video, reducing onsite hardware requirements
  • Web-based administrator
  • Dedicated HTML5-based web client, eliminates the need to install and maintain a Windows®-based management client
  • Centralized cloud management
  • Using Aimetis Enterprise Manager™, can be managed centrally providing software updates, configuration, and health monitoring over multi-site deployments
  • Native analytics
  • Analytic applications include motion tracking, auto-PTZ tracking, people counting, and more High security
  • Employs SSL encryption on all communications ensures secure deployment
  • Penetration testing routinely used to proactively identify and resolve potential security issues
  • Server and storage failover
  • Efficiently delivers built-in failover (a method of protecting computer systems from failure, in which standby equipment automatically takes over when the main system fails.) functionality without the need for expensive Microsoft Clustering and extra server
  • Mobile app option
  • Seamlessly connects to Symphony™ from anywhere in the world via smartphone or tablet
  • View and playback video, control pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras, manage I/O devices, receive alarm push notifications, and more
  • Video Library
  • Video thumbnail Play button

The newest version, Symphony 7 delivers a completely redesigned user experience that simplifies operator workflow and upfront setup time

Native video analytics can be added to any camera at any time at any VMS license level reducing deployment complexity and increasing operator efficiency.

Seamless, browser-based administration enables administrators to monitor, configure, and update a video network. The administrator client has built-in SSL encryption making all communications with the video network more secure than ever before.

More Info:

About the Author

Tim O'Leary

Tim O'Leary is a security consultant, trainer and technician who has also been writing articles on all areas of locksmithing & physical security for many years.