Ask the Expert (Video Intercoms)

How Can We Protect School Entries?

The best way to protect a campus entry is simple—lock the doors. And keep them locked. Locked doors are a very effective barrier to criminals, from burglars to active shooters.

Open a student entry 30 minutes before classes begin. Then lock the door. Keep it locked until students leave at the end of the school day. Designate one door for faculty and staff but add a basic access control system with a keypad or card reader so the entry stays locked.

Also, don’t overlook the doors themselves. They should be made of solid core wood. There’s no need for expensive anti-ballistic metal doors. But if you have glass doors fortify them with security film or metal screening. Both will help delay even an armed criminal until first responders can arrive.

Quality doors and locks are critical to keeping bad people out. But you probably have many parents, volunteers and other visitors who have a good reason to come in. Video intercoms are made for this. Mount a door station outside the single designated visitor entry. Visitors push a button to buzz a master station, typically on the desk of the receptionist and/or school resource officer. They make decisions when to open the door only after seeing and talking with visitors.

Video intercoms also help control a practice known as piggybacking, where other people sneak in with those already approved. Intercom cameras also let staff see people loitering around the entry. Another video intercom mounted at the delivery door provides a quick entry method for food service and other vendors

Here’s one more important security tip. Equip all classroom doors with locks that can be locked from the inside. No student behind a locked classroom door has been shot during all U.S. active shooter incidents.

This article originally appeared in the School Planning & Management March 2018 issue of Spaces4Learning.

About the Author

Bruce Czerwinski serves as U.S. general sales manager for Aiphone Corp. He is a 13-year veteran of the company, a manufacturer or security video intercoms. For more information, visit the website at

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