A New Jersey task force on school security has released a 59-page report that provides some 42 recommendations for making the state’s public schools safer. Of all the notable security suggestions included in the report, perhaps the strongest recommendation is for the issuance of ID and access cards to staff and students.
The report suggests that identification and access cards should be issued to all staff and students, which despite being somewhat common in the state according to the New Jersey Spotlight, is still not a standard practice.
Moreover, the report suggests that any ID cards issued to staffers should be clearly visible at all times while on campus. Part and parcel to this, the report recommends that school districts have systems in place to screen campus visitors against sex-offender registries.
The report goes on to stipulate that IDs issued children should also be done at a district level, with each developing their own system for students to wear the IDs, and further recommendations including a conjunction with meal cards or other school programs.
Not recommended, however are some of the more robust, technologically advanced systems that are now appearing in the K-12 environment, such as retina, fingerprint or other biometric scanners for access. In explaining the reasoning behind this, the report suggests that biometrics technologies are an “ill-suited application” at this time. Despite not recommending the use of biometrics for access control, the report does encourage further investigation and research into the technology’s use and ultimately leaves the decision to the school district.
New Jersey’s school security task force is providing a valuable and necessary service to K-12 administrators, but it isn’t the only resource available to K-12 schools looking to boost security on campus. The Security Industry Association (SIA) and the National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA), with the help of a host of other industry stakeholders, have recently created their PASS guidelines for K-12 schools to access the information they need to implement effective campus security measures.