Insights

School surveillance systems explained

July 12, 2022

Schools are increasingly being directed to make specific security plans. In the US, 43 states and Washington D.C. currently require a formal school security plan. The requirements vary by jurisdiction, but many specifically mention school surveillance systems.

We discuss what goes into a business security camera system elsewhere, but schools and campuses are unique environments and deserve special attention. In this article, we go through what constitutes a school surveillance system, how to best build and manage one, and why schools should consider installing security cameras if they haven’t already.

To see how Solink can help manage your school surveillance system, sign up for a demo today.

Why do schools need security cameras?

Security is a major focus area for schools today. Surveillance systems have become one of the most popular tools employed by schools. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, security cameras are only second to access control in popularity among American schools.

In fact, most schools choose multiple layers of protection when designing their security system. Each layer has its own specific goal, but they also work together to make the entire system more effective.

The security solution Solink offers educational organizations can integrate with many popular security tools, including cameras and access control, and replace others, such as alarms, so you have an easy-to-use system that can keep students and staff safe.

school surveillance systems

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School surveillance systems do not need to be expensive

Schools often operate under strong budget constraints. They might not have the staff required to operate highly technical infrastructure alone. Schools also might be stuck with older cameras that need to be integrated into a new security system.

Solink follows all of the best practices so that any educational organization can utilize our platform.

No need to buy proprietary equipment

Solink works with most cameras on the market, so if you already have cameras on your campus, then there is no need to buy new equipment. While Solink can source and install cameras for you, we can also work with your preferred installer.

Use your surveillance cameras to replace other expensive security measures

Video surveillance does not need to be a new service on top of all of your other security services. For some organizations, Solink’s Video Alarms can replace expensive and ineffective security alarms. Instead of waiting for doors to be opened and then blindly notifying the emergency services, video alarms monitor the area around doors. This gives an earlier indication of suspicious activity and allows the real-time verification of the alarm before dispatching emergency responders.

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Some users have found that Solink’s Video Alarms can do the work of security guards and have since decreased or eliminated this payroll expense. This is a case of school video surveillance systems saving you money.

Some systems may qualify for government grants

There are many grants available to educational institutions looking to enhance their security system. While not every school will qualify, it is worth looking on SchoolSafety.gov or your local government website to see what is available.

School video surveillance systems are easy to implement and use

Modern video surveillance systems like Solink might seem intimidating. There are so many features available that people sometimes assume it must be difficult to set up and use. However, Solink is designed to be easy to use for everyone.

We’ve built the interface so that everything you need can be found on the dashboard. In the unlikely event you are having trouble, our great customer enablement team is there to show you what to do.

School security cameras make it easier to monitor your campus

Integrated video surveillance can accomplish things that humans can’t. It’s hard to have a person stationed in each hallway during school hours. After all, the teachers should be in the classrooms, while employing security guards would be expensive.

Security cameras accomplish all of the required oversight, but they don’t intrude on the school experience. However, school security cameras are only half of the required infrastructure. If school administrators need to spend hours everyday scanning through the video footage for incidents, then the security cameras are not reducing labor costs or improving school safety.

The Solink platform provides video analytics, which makes it easy to create a safe, secure, and healthy learning environment for every level of education—from pre-k through university. School administrators no longer need to scan through hours of footage to find an event. Motion search allows authorized users to skip any time periods without activity. Video monitoring goes even further by sending real-time alerts when something might be happening.

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When an incident does occur, the video footage can be saved in Solink. You can even share clips with stakeholders, including emergency responders.

School surveillance systems can work on any network

Security cameras can produce a lot of data. Most people would reasonably expect that means that only top-of-the-line networks and Internet access can be used with a school video surveillance system. However, this is not necessarily the case.

Solink uses a combination of local and cloud technologies to reduce the burden on your network. We provide SD and HD streams simultaneously, so you can get faster loading SD video, while still having the high-quality HD feed when you need it. Solink also installs local storage so you don’t lose video if the Internet connection is spotty.

School security policy recommendations

School security policies are increasingly being mandated by government.

Security cameras in schools can be controversial, and creating a policy that explains why you need security cameras, where they will be placed, and who will have access to them is an important part of mitigating concerns.

School districts and security camera policies

As mentioned above, schools should dedicate part of their security policy to security cameras. Here are some key points that your security camera policy should include:

  • Reason for video surveillance on school property: Articulate the need for security cameras and the goals for their deployment. For example, you should state that security cameras are there to protect students and staff from internal and external threats, as well as to protect school property.
  • Locations where security cameras will be installed: State that school administrators will install surveillance cameras wherever they are deemed necessary and appropriate. You should list all locations that are planned, for example at entrances, in the cafeteria, and overlooking the parking lot, and stipulate that this list might change if needs change.
  • Locations where security cameras will never be installed: Having an open-ended list of locations might cause some parental, staff, and student concern. You can reduce this concern by explicitly stating that cameras will never be installed where privacy concerns exist, such as washrooms and locker rooms.
  • Explain how security camera footage can be used: It should be stated exactly how video footage will be used. This includes how long it will be stored, that it can be used for disciplinary and/or legal purposes, etc.
  • Signage system: You should make it clear that, once a surveillance system is installed in your school, there will be signage on doors, in the hallways, etc. notifying staff, students, teachers, and visitors that they are currently being monitored by security cameras.
  • Privacy policy: It is important to explain how your security cameras are protected against unauthorized users, as well as who will be authorized to view security cameras. Note that there are two sets of authorized viewers, those who have access to some or all security camera feeds day to day (e.g., the principal and other school administrators) and those who can be granted temporary access during incidents (e.g., the police or firefighters). Solink allows different users to have different levels of access to video footage, so you can create roles which will define the level of access granted.

Be mindful of the security camera privacy concerns

Security cameras can make people uncomfortable, and for parents these concerns are amplified for their children. This is the number one reason you should have a security camera policy.

By explaining what you will and will not do with security cameras, why they are in place, and how the video footage can and cannot be used, you give parents the information they need to make a rational decision for their children.

Ultimately, school surveillance systems are there to protect students and staff, and they can be implemented in a way that both preserves privacy and maintains the learning environment.

staircase-top-view-security

To find out how Solink protects the privacy of your staff and students, sign up for a demo today.

Want to see how Solink can help keep your community safe?
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School video surveillance system best practices

Implementing a surveillance system in your school can be difficult. Here are three things you can do to make the process easier and ensure you get the most out of your security cameras.

Follow the recommended guidelines and your local school security policy

Most jurisdictions require schools to have a security plan, and the requirements differ significantly depending on the location. Before creating your school security policy, be sure to get familiar with your local requirements. Note that these often represent the minimum requirements for your school security policy.

However, going beyond the minimum in the detail provided in your plan will make it easier for your school to implement your security measures. This is why it is important to include your security camera policy in your security plan.

Once your security plan is set, follow it. This includes what security infrastructure you will install, where it will be installed, and how you will use the data generated by these tools.

Perform remote monitoring on your laptop or mobile device from anywhere

Not everything happens during school hours, so it is important to be able to see what is happening at your school when you aren’t there. Using a platform like Solink means you can continue to monitor your school remotely on your laptop or mobile device from anywhere. You can even review video alarms in real time to verify whether there is a true emergency event before requesting emergency services.

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Use all of the tools available for the most effective school surveillance system

Technology is evolving rapidly. The last thing you want to do is lock into a three-year contract with a surveillance company and be stuck. Solink provides video surveillance systems to schools on a month-to-month contract. We are constantly releasing new tools to make our security solution more effective and easier to use.

For example, our Camera Linking feature uses machine learning to automatically map the cameras across your school together. That way authorized users at the board of education who might not be familiar with your school can still navigate across your security cameras and understand what is happening. With Camera Linking, it is possible to naturally follow a person as they move from one camera’s field of view to another.

Video surveillance improves school safety

School surveillance systems are there to protect students and staff. They are there to keep everyone safe and secure from daily incidents as well as from major events.

Solink helps schools keep unauthorized visitors out of schools, protect school property, and keep kids safe.

To see how Solink can protect your school, sign up for a demo today.

Want to see how Solink can help keep your community safe?
Take a virtual tour.