Improving K-12 Education with Proactive Safety and Security
Helping Improve K-12 School Security with
Niagara Falls City School District
Located in Niagara Falls, New York and serving more than 7,000 PreK-12 students in 11 schools, Niagara Falls City School District (NFCSD) is on a mission to:
“…guarantee educational excellence by creating strategic goals which we will monitor, analyze, assess and evaluate utilizing the quality process and ensuring customer satisfaction.”
Mark Laurrie has served six years as NFCSD Superintendent, but has dedicated his career to serving his community. During those years, the Board of Education and district leaders have seen an increase in the need to stay proactive in the district’s security stance as the challenges intersect of creating a quality learning environment while helping ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff.
Much like the rest of the nation, NFSCD watched through the years as mass casualties increasingly took place on the sacred ground of schools.
“We have the same problems that many inner city schools have, and I really resisted for a long time resistant because schools should be welcoming, comfortable, normal safe places, but as the world has moved, unfortunately, when we walk into malls, or movie theatres, there's a new expected level of security,” Mark said.
“We have to be able to guarantee our students and their parents that we're going to use all the tools available to help protect them."
Ultimately, the COVID-19 pandemic created urgency for the district to find a solution.
“After we returned to school [following the shutdown from COVID-19], we opened the doors to a world I couldn't believe,” said Superintendent Laurrie. “We spent the month of September and October with a lot of school violence as students came back from being isolated for so long. It didn't escalate severely, but there was a physical element. There were serious concerns from parents and from staff about their own safety.”
The district went to work and implemented legacy security procedures at the most concerning part of the school day – the beginning.
However, it soon became apparent that these safety measures were coming at the cost of learning.
“We started to bag check and wand every student, and it was taking a good 45 minutes,” said Superintendent Laurrie. “Parents and kids were understanding, but we were using almost a full period of instruction time to do this. Kids were outside, waiting to have their bags gone through, and I never felt the wands were totally effective."
"We were doing the best we could, but we had to do something different.”
After evaluating options for how to best manage the entering and exiting of a school building, the district ultimately chose touchless screening implemented by Securitas Technology.
Touchless security screening makes it possible for venues of all kinds to keep visitors safe from concealed weapons, health threats and intruders. The system uses proprietary sensors and artificial intelligence (AI) to differentiate weapons from personal items in real-time.
Touchless screening keeps high-volume entrances flowing by reliably detecting guns and other weapons as people walk through naturally without emptying their pockets, bags, backpacks or other belongings.
The system can screen more than 3,600 people per hour – 10 times faster than metal detectors.
“We found the speed with which students could enter, the accuracy in determining threats, and the ability to have a transportable piece of equipment for sporting events made it the best choice,” said Superintendent Laurrie. “The fact that this had the best technology using AI was too alluring to pass up to get that kind of lack of intrusiveness. You don’t have to take things out of your pocket - it is the most seamless, secure, unobtrusive security product we have.”
Students, faculty, and visitors all now enter these facilities in a frictionless experience. NFCSD installed six touchless security screening units in the district. Between a high school with approximately 2500 people, and two prep schools with approximately 525 students each, the security technology is impacting the experience of about 3,000 people a day, as well as giving the assurance of a safer and more secure environment to those families and the staff.
We’re Here to Help
Finding the right safety and security solution for your educational facility is critically important. Learn more about seamless and frictionless security technology to help manage your threshold, and let us help you increase your proactive security stance with a free consultation with one of our security experts.
“We’re able to assure parents that we're taking this seriously, not just for kids, but for anyone walking in the building,” said Superintendent Laurrie. “There's an expectation of safety. We're not reacting, we're proactively taking action." Superintendent Laurrie
"The community recognizes this is a necessary thing, and it will also reduce the man and woman power we have at the door, so those safety officers can be deployed at other places in the building.”