Keeping Rural Schools Safe: How 1 District Uses Technology to Improve Security

The Penns Valley Area School District in Pennsylvania installed video surveillance, access control, visitor management and a secure vestibule to ensure campus safety.

The LobbyWorks system and all intrusion, video and access control systems are integrated and managed using Pro-Watch, a system management suite that acts as a common user interface between the four schools. Authorized school staff and district officials can log-in to the Pro-Watch portal to monitor live camera feeds, evaluate access data at entryways and search stored surveillance footage to review past events.

Administrators can also log into Pro-Watch remotely from any place, at any time. This is helpful to monitor system health – for example, if an intrusion system goes offline, a camera malfunctions or a door is forced open, system administrators receive notification via email or text message. They can then log-in to the system from a mobile device to make an informed decision on whether to alert authorities and the integrator to address a problem.

Finally, the Pennsylvania State Police recommended the district install mantraps at main entryways that are designed to lock intruders between external doors and a second set of doors that let a person inside. If someone attempts to force entry after getting through the first set of doors, the trap falls and locks the person inside a bulletproof enclosure. Detaining an intruder during a lockdown situation is crucial to ensuring students remain safe until authorities arrive.

“LowV Systems recommended adding new, advanced technologies to improve the limited security system we already had,” says Griffith. “In my mind, one of the standout features of the system build-out is the mantraps.”

New System Compliments Future Growth with Scalable Technology
Down the line, Penns Valley can easily add to its security infrastructure without disrupting how the systems interact with each other.

“The main benefit of this system is its ability to empower our staff with technology that helps protect students if an intruder is on campus,” Griffith says. “But we also chose these advanced technologies because as our district expands, our security systems are easily scalable to that growth.”

There has never been a major security incident at a Penns Valley Area school, but the district has already used its new system to solve problems. The video surveillance system recently helped administrators identify a vandal plaguing the school parking lots. It also captured evidence of a former staff member stealing money.

“Families are resting easier because they know we have done everything we can to ensure students are safe at school,” say Griffith. “While the technology plays a major role in our security procedures, so does preparation. Even in this enhanced environment, we continue to rigorously train staff and students on the protocols associated with an intruder on campus.”

Garth Dehoff is a business development manager for Honeywell.

All photos courtesy Honeywell

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