School Safety: Leveraging Technology for a Secure Environment

School Safety: Leveraging Technology for a Secure Environment

School Safety: Leveraging Technology for a Secure Environment

When we think about integrating technology in educational settings, digital classrooms, e-learning platforms, and interactive educational tools often come to mind. So far, this series has been focused on exciting experiences and VIP level activities, brought to the masses. In this installment, we focus on an area people often avoid, improving school safety. Balancing privacy with security needs is a delicate dance, yet with the right technology, it is not only achievable, but an area where inaction is simply unacceptable.

The Imperative of Safety in Schools

School safety is a paramount concern for educators, parents, and policymakers alike. With the increasing frequency of security incidents in schools, there is an urgent need to implement robust safety measures. Technology provides a multitude of solutions that can significantly enhance the security framework of educational institutions. None of those solutions are perfect, but here, as in many places, perfect is the enemy of better and we must not let the absence of a ‘perfect’ solution impair our progress toward improvement. Author’s Note: You don’t realize how often phrases we use can be inappropriate. While most folks reading this will think of school shootings as the impetus for this article, the reality is that they represent a small number of the emergency conditions at schools that can be improved by technology and experience transformation. That being said, I wrote and re-wrote this section trying to avoid using the phrase “silver bullet,” as I was worried it would be considered in poor taste. Make no mistake, nothing in this article is meant to make light of this very real threat. The idea behind the product I reference came from seeing my, at the time, 5 year old son huddle in his room practicing what he explained to me was an “Active Shooter Drill.” The fact that our kids have to even consider this is an offense that we, as adults, all wear and owe a responsibility to address.

Balancing Privacy and Security

One of the critical challenges in implementing security technology in schools is maintaining a balance between ensuring safety and respecting the privacy of students and staff. Overly intrusive measures can lead to an environment of distrust and discomfort. Therefore, it is essential to adopt technologies that are both effective and minimally invasive.

Technological Solutions for Enhanced Safety

  1. Awareness Ecosystems: Process and technology that allow rapid collection of critical information about attendance and location of all ‘souls’ onsite are at the heart of these. Though not the focus of many solutions, the experience of the team at AwareCare Safety, born of years leading the charge to improve marine safety, gets right to the heart of this matter. Providing accurate, actionable data to first responders is the only path to resolving emergencies faster. The best path to that is lightweight data first.
  2. Access Control: Implementing dynamic access control systems ensures that only authorized personnel can enter the premises. These systems can use biometric data, smart cards, or mobile apps to manage access, ensuring a secure environment without significant intrusion.
  3. Surveillance Systems: As you start going more toward cutting edge, advanced surveillance systems equipped with AI can detect unusual behavior patterns and alert security personnel in real-time. These systems can cover extensive areas, providing comprehensive monitoring without the need for constant human supervision. These systems often carry a significant cost and have run into implementation challenges. That said, and as we often parrot, “More data is more better” (I credit Polk County Schools for that grammar). But wading into cutting edge surveillance is not for the light of heart and must be done in concert with solid technology partnerships and an eye toward privacy.
  4. Emergency Response Systems: Integrating technology with emergency response protocols can drastically reduce response times during incidents. Automated alerts, lockdown systems, and communication platforms can coordinate swift action, ensuring the safety of everyone involved.

Collaboration is Key

Ensuring the safety of students and staff in schools requires a concerted effort from multiple stakeholders. Local, state, and federal agencies, law enforcement at all levels, teachers, students, and parents must work together seamlessly. Technology should act as a bridge, providing actionable and accurate data quickly to first responders, enabling them to act effectively during emergencies and providing the proper teams with critical information in time to reduce risk and resolve the conflict as safely as possible.

What Good Looks Like: AwareCare Safety

The approach advanced by AwareCare Safety exemplifies what good looks like in the realm of school safety. Their innovative approach focuses on addressing the most critical safety issues in an interactive, modular manner. By providing actionable, accurate data quickly, AwareCare Safety empowers first responders to act efficiently during emergencies while also providing a level of visibility into what has historically been a “black box” to the very people who can provide help. Their dedication to creating safer educational environments through cutting-edge technology solutions should signify a trend in the industry and the decades of knowledge they bring from the emergency processes of the maritime industry serves to support, bolster and advance the great work already being done in this space while also making measures of improvement accessible to all.


The integration of technology in schools for safety is not just a trend but a necessity. By carefully selecting and implementing appropriate technological solutions, schools can create a safe and conducive environment for learning. Balancing privacy concerns with security needs ensures that these measures are accepted and effective. Furthermore, by creating a strong foundation in technology and process, driving the improvement of safety and security, schools are also enabling additional capabilities down the line on the back of those wise investments in our children’s future.

As I mentioned earlier, there is no “Silve Bullet,” here. The challenges faced in schools around safety and security cannot be just “fixed.” Furthermore, getting into partisan arguments and draconian approaches does nothing but drive mutually interested and concerned parties away from each other, rather than closer to a unified solution. Finding ways to improve the condition that everyone can support is the only way forward and while bi-partisan almost anything seems to be falling out of vogue as late, it does seem like most of us can agree that our children deserve more.

They deserve better.

They can have more and better through the intelligent integration of process and technology.

Call to Action

At Plain Sight Strategy Group, we are committed to helping educational institutions navigate the complexities of integrating technology for safety. Contact us today to learn how we can support your school’s journey toward a safer future. Disclaimer: I am a partner in the AwareCare Safety initiative, dedicated to advancing school safety through innovative technology solutions.