Safety & Security

School Access Strategy

Identification cards for students, faculty, staff and visitors increase the visibility of individuals who do not belong in the school building and make the facility safer for all who use it.

Crime Problem Addressed — This strategy focuses on increasing the visibility of trespassers, intruders and suspended or expelled students through identification cards for students, staff, faculty and visitors. An identification card system, particularly when combined with access control procedures, deters individuals with no legitimate business in the school from attempting to enter the building and reduces opportunities for on-campus crimes, violence and drug dealing by unauthorized outsiders.

Key Components — Schools using identification cards issue them to students and staff at the beginning of the school year. Students, faculty and staff are required to display valid identification cards to enter the building. Usually color-coded to differentiate between student classes, and between faculty and staff, the cards are worn throughout the day by everyone in the school building. The visitor ID card is usually larger than any other, making it noticeable and distinctive from those worn by students and staff.

Visitors are issued temporary identification cards after showing a driver’s license and signing in as they enter the building. Signs at the main entrances notify visitors that identification is required to enter the school building. Each school using the identification system has a distinct card to reduce the likelihood that students or staff could enter without authorization.

Key partnerships — The superintendent and school board must authorize the use of an identification card system and agree to expend funds necessary to implement it. Parent organizations and students should be consulted and informed about the role identification cards are expected to play in the comprehensive security planning for school facilities. Extensive communication with staff, parents and students is necessary to ensure successful implementation of the policy.

Applying the Strategy — One part of a security enhancement plan should include procedures that require visitors and temporary maintenance workers check in and be escorted to their destination within the school. Costs assessed for lost cards should help minimize replacement costs. Other security measures include metal detectors, full-time presence of police officers in school buildings and closed campuses during lunch hours.

— Reproduced in part from the National Crime Prevention Council’s “350 Tested Strategies to Prevent Crime: A Resource for Municipal Agencies and Community Groups.”

This article originally appeared in the March 2015 issue of School Planning & Management.

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