South Carolina school district enhances security, reduces manual efforts with Allegion solution

When it comes to the safety and security of their students, faculty and properties, Rock Hill School District isn’t taking any chances. Located in York County, S.C., Rock Hill School District sprawls out across 31 million square feet, making it the 11th largest school district in the state. Each fall, the Rock Hill School District welcomes about 18,000 students to its campuses, and for the duration of the school year, is responsible for their safety and well-being.

Rock Hill School District utilizes security solutions and access control systems to ensure a building lockdown is possible. The classroom and office door locks are outfitted with Allegion’s Schlage wireless electronic locks, which integrate into the district’s access control system. This allows the interior of each school, and even the entire district, to be locked down and managed remotely. It even allows for the set-up of schedules to reduce manual efforts even further.

Budget restraints lead to perimeter vulnerabilities

While almost all interior doors and main entrances were connected to the access control system, Rock Hill Schools’ secondary perimeter openings were not connected, requiring manual locking or “undogging” of these doors. “Dogging” refers to the holding of latches of a panic device retracted, which creates a push/pull function. When the panic device is “dogged,” it is unlocked, and anyone can easily pull on the door to open it.

Why were these openings left unconnected? Historically for Rock Hill Schools, like many other schools, it simply wasn’t practical or affordable. “Schools want the safest, most secure solutions to protect students and staff,” says Yong Lacy, Allegion Americas category leader, openings. “However, these schools are also up against tight budgets, so connecting all perimeter openings often was not an option. Instead, schools may have kept secondary openings locked throughout the day, but this required manual touring to verify the status of each opening.”

According to findings from the research group SMARI, its estimated that only half of secondary doors in schools with a networked access control system are connected. The majority of available security funds are focused on main entrances. Additionally, more than half of schools report that their perimeter doors are left unlocked or propped open, which results in vulnerabilities that compromise a building’s security solution. 

Budget restraints lead to perimeter vulnerabilities

While almost all interior doors and main entrances were connected to the access control system, Rock Hill Schools’ secondary perimeter openings were not connected, requiring manual locking or “undogging” of these doors. “Dogging” refers to the holding of latches of a panic device retracted, which creates a push/pull function. When the panic device is “dogged,” it is unlocked, and anyone can easily pull on the door to open it.

Why were these openings left unconnected? Historically for Rock Hill Schools, like many other schools, it simply wasn’t practical or affordable. “Schools want the safest, most secure solutions to protect students and staff,” says Yong Lacy, Allegion Americas category leader, openings. “However, these schools are also up against tight budgets, so connecting all perimeter openings often was not an option. Instead, schools may have kept secondary openings locked throughout the day, but this required manual touring to verify the status of each opening.”

According to findings from the research group SMARI, its estimated that only half of secondary doors in schools with a networked access control system are connected. The majority of available security funds are focused on main entrances. Additionally, more than half of schools report that their perimeter doors are left unlocked or propped open, which results in vulnerabilities that compromise a building’s security solution.

A cost-effective solution

Through Rock Hill School District’s relationship with Allegion, they discovered Von Duprin’s® Remote Undogging option to enhance the perimeter security at their schools.

The Von Duprin Remote Undogging retrofit kit for exit devices is a cost-effective solution for secondary openings that enables remote locking for centralized lock down, “dog on next exit” commands and enhanced door status monitoring with integrated signaling capabilities. Because the solution can retrofit to work with Rock Hill’s current hardware, it eliminated the need for them to purchase new devices for every opening.

Tim Boan, access control technician for Rock Hill Schools says, “With this, we can use our existing devices, which will save costs compared to replacing our devices.” This solution will also drastically reduce Rock Hill’s future costs, as the district intends to extend this solution to its other campuses.

The Von Duprin Remote Undogging seamlessly integrated with the district’s access control software, allowing the schools to secure all of their doors at any time. It greatly simplified their lockdown procedure by reducing the need to manually tour the building. Now, the school can remotely lockdown the building, saving valuable time in the event of an emergency and keeping staff out of harm’s way.

With this new solution, Rock Hill Schools doesn’t have to worry about the security of their building – no matter the time of day. “We’ve now eliminated the risk of a door being left unlocked overnight. Traditionally, following an event, someone had to manually secure all of the openings. If they forgot to lock a door, it would be left unsecured all night long. Now, we can easily monitor all of the openings and ensure they are locked,” says Wren.

The Rock Hill School District is a great example of a school taking the extra step to enhance their perimeter security, and ultimately, the safety of their students and faculty. To learn more about how your school can implement an affordable perimeter security solution, contact Allegion at 877-671-7011 or visit us.allegion.com.