Every time a parent waves goodbye from a bus stop, they trust you and your staff to keep their child safe on your K-12 school campus. You’ve certainly taken steps to maintain a secure campus in order to do so.
With threats both physical and digital continuously mounting, educational institutions are emphasizing security more than ever before. While some campuses have installed metal detectors and an entire Hollywood production crew’s worth of security cameras, many districts still overlook the simple but critical matter of key management.
Be it an honest mistake or a legitimate threat, keys in the wrong hands don’t merely represent a security risk. Lost keys can also prevent schools from carrying out their duty to educate and develop young people. This means the consequences of poor key management don’t just fall on the shoulders of administrators, but on students and parents as well.
Here are some of the costs of poor key control you might not have considered and how to remedy them so you can focus on teaching, not learning lessons the hard way.
Unanticipated Lock Changes for Schools
When a student at a public high school in southwest Ohio used a key taken from a staff member to enter the building numerous times after hours, the school needed to replace all the locks on its premises. What can your campus do to avoid a similar situation? Regularly tracking and auditing keys is an integral part of security for any institution. To avoid large rekeying costs, be proactive, not reactive in your key security measures.
Replacing one lock professionally can run a bill of up to $200. The expense is well worth it for the continued safety of students, but with all the effort that goes into funding our schools, unforeseen expenses like these can be detrimental despite being largely avoidable.
Lost Instruction Time for Students
Replacing locks is hard enough from a financial standpoint. However, the school mentioned above also had to temporarily close to conduct a full sweep of the building and ensure no other dangers were present.
When you factor in the time it takes for law enforcement to comb the campus and contractors to replace locks, it’s easy to watch hours slip away without kids in classrooms.
Even as remote learning becomes more common and a more viable option for schools, many districts lack the ability to address students’ needs virtually, potentially letting already struggling students fall further behind. Time in the classroom is precious, and you shouldn’t let sloppy key control rob it from your teachers and students.
Lost Peace of Mind for Parents
From the first day of kindergarten to high school graduation, parents never stop thinking of their children’s well-being and safety.
One third of parents say they fear for their child’s safety at school. The knowledge that a dangerous security breach is as simple as swiping an unattended key from a pegboard or drawer certainly doesn’t inspire confidence.
The break-in at the Ohio high school marked the second time in four years the school canceled classes to investigate a threat. The decision to send a child to school can take courage for a variety of reasons, but parents shouldn’t have to worry about something as simple as a school’s key control.
How to Get Control of Your Keys
While an electronic key control system alone can’t mitigate every risk, it enforces accountability among staff members and prevents mistakes that lead to avoidable expenses, lost class time, and concerned parents.
A reliable system enables schools to keep campus keys secure while maintaining a detailed, regularly updated record of who has a key and when they took it.
As a K-12 institution, you’re entrusted with the privilege and responsibility of developing our nation’s future. Don’t let the key management systems of yesterday stop you from growing the minds of tomorrow.