By Julie Kuepers
With the recent barrage of school violence around the nation, school leaders have realized that the bar for security standards needs to be raised significantly. To maintain higher security levels in the classroom and within school walls, it’s integral to understand the security options that are available.
In addition, when you partner with an industry leader to create a solution that closely aligns with your school’s unique objectives, your students and school can feel a resilient sense of safety.
Over the past several years, schools around the country have been forced to drastically change their perspective on student and staff security. With the growing number of security-related and violent incidents on school grounds, administrators, security officers, and IT teams are doing all they can to bolster the resources they already have with additional tools to tighten up and secure their campuses.
To build and sustain a high level of security, a school ID program helps require that each student, faculty member, volunteer, and facility visitor has an identifiable ID badge or visitor badge at all times. It’s a simple yet effectual way to keep your school safe knowing who is in the building at all times and being able to verify their identity.
Determining the right way to implement a program like this can definitely be a challenge, as there are many effective ways to create a more secure environment within our educational facilities. All building access points must be assessed and a strict protocol – coupled with a documented issuance policy – must be implemented for distribution of credentials to students, faculty, staff, volunteers, and visitors.
In today’s ever-changing world, relying on basic security measures will simply not be enough to adequately or confidently protect school classrooms, hallways, and common areas. But how can you build a reliable strategy for making your school’s security stronger and resilient? Where do you start?
Now more than ever, one of the most successful ways to build your security foundation is with an ID badging program. The first step is being prepared and making sure that you have the critical resources to launch your badge program. While there is no way to guarantee 100% security, you can make enhancements to your cards to heighten the level of security as well as the difficulty to copy or counterfeit ID badges.
Schools are ramping up their overall security measures with badging programs. These programs bring awareness, help educate, and promote the safety and security within a school.
Before starting, however, it’s critical to give some forethought to the evolution of your program. What will it entail this year? Next year? In the next five years? Your ID badge program should be scalable and flexible enough to grow with you over time.
Schools around the country are evolving new developments in six critical areas:
1. School Safety Cards
The fundamental component of every ID badge program is, well, a badge. ID badges for school students typically feature a first and last name, photo, student ID number, grade, teacher, and other distinguishing information. With more and more schools requiring students to display their IDs on their person at all times while on school premises, the most effective and efficient way to increase visual security at a glance is with School Safety Cards.
School safety cards are placed on the backside of a photo ID card and provide a colored area to clearly and boldly display the badge wearer’s title (e.g., Principal, Teacher, Student, Volunteer, Counselor, etc.) or student grade (e.g., Senior, Junior, 2nd grade, etc.). They can display a variety of vital information for students and staff, including emergency phone numbers, crisis preparedness, evacuation instructions, fire drill maps, and more.
School safety cards are also useful for employees or guardians that may be unfamiliar with your school’s emergency procedures to have them in an easy access, secure location for quick reference: their ID.
2. Custom Badge Accessories
With an increased number of students and school staff being required to wear their ID badge credentials throughout the school day, lanyards and badge reels can be customized as a method of instant visual security.
These high-quality custom accessories can be imprinted with your school’s name, mascot, and colors to provide an at-a-glance identification of a student, teacher, or staff member, even if their badge is not immediately visible.
For additional safety, schools tend to choose breakaway lanyards. The breakaway feature is uniquely designed with two sturdy plastic clasps that easily snap together. It automatically separates under pressure and/or physical stress and pull apart, reducing the risk of choking.
3. Tactile Impression Printing
Researching the many ways to strengthen your school security objectives is no small endeavor. However, with revolutionary innovations within the identification industry like the Datacard CD810, you’re definitely on the right path. This direct-to-card printer has something the competition doesn’t: its one-of-a-kind tactile impression customization. An exclusive breakthrough within the ID card industry, tactile impression can increase the tamper resistance of your cards, making them more secure and nearly impossible for counterfeiters to duplicate.
An imprint is made with the tactile impression die, directly onto the surface of your ID badges during the card printing process for added convenience and simplicity. Best of all, you only pay for the tactile impression die once. No special consumables are needed to produce secure, professional-grade ID badges except the standard cards and ribbons you’d normally need to purchase for your printer.
4. HoloKote Watermark
The custom HoloKote is a built-in card security feature that prints a secure watermark on a badge’s surface without any added costs to your badge issuance program. Watermarks are printed during the normal card printing cycle using the “O” panel of a standard color ribbon, so there’s no need to purchase expensive holographic lamination. The HoloKote watermark becomes visible when the card is viewed at an angle and can be easily enabled or disabled in your printer driver. The custom image you use for this watermark is encrypted and electronically stored on a custom key, preventing the threat of card duplication and further strengthening card security.
5. Foil Cards
If you’re in the market for a more budget-friendly security option, foil cards offer increased security through tamper-resistant laminate combined with an embedded holographic image repeated over the card face. Even from a distance, this allows you to easily recognize a legitimate ID as well as an ID that may have been tampered with.
6. Visitor Management
Monitoring your school’s visitors – such as parents, relatives, or volunteers – is key to any school security program. For both large and small schools, it’s important to know who is in your building and how you can identify them. But monitoring of all the visitors at your school can be a real challenge. With the options available today, how do you decide which type of visitor badges or visitor management system software is the right choice for your organization?
Expiring badges come in the form of stickers, pre-printed badges, and printable badges. You can also choose to customize your badges with your school name and mascot. Badges can easily be placed on clothing with an adhesive back or a badge clip.
They can be purchased based on the time that they last: one week, one day, or one half-day. Every expiring badge comes with a front part and a back part. To activate the badge, simply adhere the front part to the back part.
Security can be integrated into your card program in a variety of ways. For the best performance and ultimate success, we advocate a multi-layer approach since no single security feature can guard against every attack. Your school is only as secure as you, your staff and your students make it.
Julie Kuepers is senior content specialist for ID Wholesaler, www.idwholesaler.com. Since 2004, they have partnered with hundreds of schools across the nation to significantly increase the security level of school ID card programs – affordably and sustainably.