“Danger, Will Robinson” — How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Schools Safer

artificial intelligence iot protect kids school

When I was a young boy, my parents took me to see the 1998 film “Lost In Space”. Needless to say, I was pumped. Space adventure AND popcorn? Yes, please!

Now, to be clear, I was not expecting to see Gary Oldman as a giant human-spider abomination. My brain has been trying to bury that freakish visual for years.

But there was one visual that absolutely thrilled me. This:

ai make schools safer

The robot affectionately known as “Robot.” He protected young Will from all sorts of nasties. Imagine having a personal robot bodyguard by your side? Don’t tell me you haven’t had this daydream as a child (or grown adult).

Well, here in 2019, we aren’t exactly at that point yet. After all, most kids are bringing iPhones and “hoverboards” to school, not robots.

However, technology and artificial intelligence have progressed rapidly over the past few years. And when it comes to using it to make schools safer, the Department of Homeland Security is encouraging us to take notice. As stated in their Guide for Preventing and Protecting Against Gun Violence:

“New and inventive security practices and technologies are released every day. DHS encourages the K-12 community to be forward-thinking when it comes to all aspects of their business practices, particularly security.”

In our last post, we discussed some of the practical, industry-standard security measures out there. Now, we’re looking at more technologically-advanced security systems recommended by the DHS to help make schools safer.

Security camera systems

security cameras make schools safer

CCV (Closed-Circuit Video) isn’t anything new. But advancements in CCV tech means it is more valuable than ever.

CCV can be used in conjunction with turnstiles to help secure entrances. If an attacker attempts to bypass these security measures, the cameras can automatically put eyes on the situation. When paired with motion detectors, the CCV system can follow an intruder anywhere within the premises.

On top of this, local law enforcement can be given access to remote monitoring of these systems. Which means they’ll already know where the attacker is within the building as they’re arriving on scene.

Security measures to slow down attackers

Two of the worst school shootings in the past few years lasted less than 6 minutes. These examples show that buying precious time is absolutely key.

Systems like strobe lights and smoke cannons do just that. Imagine trying to make your way through a hallway when blinding lights begin flashing in your eyes and smoke begins blasting at you from the ceiling.


When these are paired with motion sensors and other technologies, they can be very effective at drastically slowing, or even stopping an attack altogether.

Speaking of which…

It’s time to embrace artificial intelligence

embrace technology ai school security

Until our robot overlords take over the world, we should be using them to our advantage. Artificial intelligence and IoT technology are vital tools for school security that can’t be overlooked.

Here are a few examples recommended by the DHS:

Gunshot detection systems 

“Originally developed for military purposes, companies have released auditory and electro-optical gunshot detection systems which integrate maps/architectural plans of the facility. These systems utilize microphones/sensors which are capable of detecting the exact location of the gunfire and providing that information directly to emergency responders.”

This info makes it easier for police to respond, because they know exactly the type of situation they’re walking into. But an AI system is even more valuable when paired with other technologies.

Integrated Application-Based Services 

Imagine taking all of the security measures listed above and combining them.

“Some apps act as panic buttons which any teacher can press to send an alert to the phone of police offcers within a certain radius of the school. Other apps focus on locking down a school by virtually securing doors. Some others integrate many protective measures such as locking doors, deploying smoke cannons, activating strobe lights, and monitoring CCV.”

The value of this can’t be over-stated. After all, human error is a real problem when reacting to life-or-death scenarios. Automated systems reduce that. They react instantaneously, locking down the facilities and alerting first responders with lightning speed.

Quite simply: systems like these can save lives

safe schools better place secure

The question you may have is: How do I know which systems are right for our school, and our budget? The best thing to do is have an onsite visit from a security professional. On top of that, speak to your local first responders. They can recommend which security tools are the right fit, and which ones would benefit them as well.

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