Securing Your K-12 School from Curb to Classroom


Today it may feel more difficult than ever to ensure an ideal learning environment. However, with an approach that balances safety, security and wellness, you can create an atmosphere that provides peace of mind for students, faculty and staff, allowing them to focus on the learning process.

Comprehensive school security requires a curb-to-core approach that includes the perimeter of the property, the building envelope, visitor vestibules and interior spaces. Door openings play a critical role in the safety and security strategies of K-12 school districts, and the door security experts at ASSA ABLOY are here to help you assess your school’s specific needs and identify a solution that supports your strategies.

ASSA ABLOY helps school districts and educational organizations improve the security of their facilities, from gates and perimeter fencing on the outside, to classroom doors on the inside. Our innovative door and hardware solutions also help achieve sustainability objectives and building code compliance.

Proper selection of doors and hardware can help your school:

  • Restrict access to authorized individuals
  • Secure classroom and perimeter doors, and facilitate lockdown
  • Ensure code compliance including ADA, emergency egress and fire
  • Reinforce exterior doors to protect against attackers or extreme weather
  • Reduce air leakage with energy efficient exterior openings
  • Enhance facility cleanliness with antimicrobial coatings and Safer2Open™ touchless or low touch solutions
  • Protect expensive equipment, chemicals, medications, and sensitive data with access control
  • Adapt to evolving access requirements as they arise


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School Lockdown Strategies

Lockdown strategies are an essential component of any school safety plan, and can vary widely depending on the unique requirements of every school. In every scenario, protocols should incorporate a specific method of lockdown based on how decisions are made and applied.

Traditionally, there are two types of lockdown:

  • Centralized Decision with Universal Application
    • Often called “Remote or Centralized Lockdown”
    • Locks all doors campus-wide instantly with the push of a button
    • Lacks situational awareness in each classroom or corridor
  • Decentralized Decision with Local Application
    • Often called “Local Lockdown”
    • Allows each teacher to decide whether to evacuate or lock their own door
    • Enables intelligent decision-making based on situational awareness

Security professionals as well as law enforcement and first responders will most often suggest an application-appropriate solution or hybrid of these two lockdown options. Often this includes Centralized Decision with Universal Application along the perimeter of a building and property, combined with Decentralized Decision with Local Application for interior doors that allows teachers and faculty to respond to events with greater situational awareness.

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System Management Strategies

Specific needs for system management vary greatly by school. It is important to consider exactly what functionality you need and weigh that against your budget and available resources in order to identify the type of solution that works best for your needs.

Functionality can include:

  • Access privileges
  • Data interface
  • District/site partitioning
  • Activity & alarms
  • Security analytics
  • Video management
  • Incident command
  • Transaction commerce

The types of management systems available range from stand-alone locks that managed individually to access management systems, enterprise-level security systems and transaction platforms used for commerce. ASSA ABLOY can help you identify exactly which type of system is best suited for your budget and your requirements.

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Electronic Access Control

Traditionally limited to just a few exterior openings, access control is now not only possible but increasingly critical throughout the interior of schools. Extending access control to interior and classroom doors allows you to:

  • Implement application-specific lockdown strategies to prevent blind lockouts
  • Improve key control and reduce rekeying costs
  • Enhance school security, creating a better learning environment

Access control systems vary drastically in their capabilities, cost and complexity. K12 schools need a solution that is affordable, easy to deploy, and easy to use. As such, it is important to have a clear understanding of your needs as well as the options available.

With the broadest range of security options in the industry, ASSA ABLOY Group brands can provide anything from mechanical keys to intelligent door openings. Our array of technologies — known as the Security Continuum — pairs the appropriate locking technology with the specific requirements of each K-12 opening.

The core principal of the Security Continuum is that each door opening is different. Proper application of access control products means that no one solution should be applied to every opening. This customized approach enhances the security of the facility and keeps costs in line.

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Access Control In K-12 Schools

Today’s educational landscape requires a thoughtful approach that balances safety and security with the health and wellness of students to create an ideal learning environment. Download our Understanding the Critical Role of Access Control in K-12 School Security eBook to learn more. 

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Classroom Security

Sadly, the past two decades have seen the need to protect students during active shooter events, making classroom security upgrades a high priority for many campuses.

Many schools are still outfitted with openings that are not capable of providing the type of protection imperative to a safe classroom environment. For instance, devices that wedge doors shut from the inside are marketed as add-on safety devices, but in reality, they violate fire and life safety codes, provide a false sense of security and reduce the perceived need for appropriate security solutions.

The best security solutions:

  • Provide for free egress in the event of a fire or similar emergency
  • Allow access for police and emergency personnel
  • Ensure access to safe areas for students and faculty

In cases where school officials determine that lockdowns are the best method, ASSA ABLOY has multiple solutions to facilitate a safe lockdown without dangerous secondary locking devices. These secondary locking devices that jam, wedge, bar or barricade doors in place don’t just violate code, they make doors much more dangerous. In the event of an emergency, they could accidentally block a needed means of escape. They also allow for individuals to barricade themselves in a room that is no longer accessible by key—stopping staff or first responders from being able to de-escalate a situation. Conversely, rigorously tested ASSA ABLOY attack-resistant openings are an integral part of a school security solution that ensures a safe learning environment without violating compliance codes or creating problematic secondary safety issues.

Product Spotlight: Attack Resistant Doors

In an emergency situation involving an armed attacker, every second matters. ASSA ABLOY’s Attack Resistant Opening, offered in partnership with School Guard Glass, provides at least 4 minutes of resistance to ballistic and physical attack.


Test 5-aa10 Certification Standards for Reinforcing and Testing of Standard Wood and Hollow Metal Doors, Frames, Glass and Hardware

  • 30 shots (7.62 mm) fired at glass
  • 30 shots fired at door hardware
  • 30 shots fired at a sidelight glass in a 6" x 6" area

The door then remained closed after more than 4 minutes of attack by a single assailant using various types of heavy-duty hand tools as allowed in testing. Although the glazing, door, or hardware will not stop a bullet from penetrating, the Attack Resistant opening will not weaken enough to allow entry by the assailant during the attack.

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Curb To Core K12 Solutions

Securing the Perimeter

The right fence and gate system can help create a safe learning environment for your school. Our school security systems include perimeter fences, playground fences, stadium/field fences, security gates and pedestrian egress gates. Gate and fence access control prevents unauthorized personnel from penetrating a school’s campus. Electromagnetic locks, electric strikes and gate locks from ASSA ABLOY Electronic Security Hardware, certified for outdoor use, are designed to leverage existing hardware and make retrofit upgrades easy and efficient.

Optimizing the Building Envelope

The building envelope refers to all exterior openings. It is imperative that all exit doors on a school maintain building security while allowing for free egress from the inside. They must also meet fire and life safety codes, as well as ADA compliance.

ASSA ABLOY offers a variety of exterior door openings for the building envelope to provide superior energy efficiency and protect against violent storms or physical attacks.

Increasing Energy Efficiency

Approximately 40% of all energy leakage comes from the building envelope, which includes exterior doorways. Trio-E doors and thermally broken frames, along with Pemko thermal barrier thresholds, increase thermal retention and reduce energy leakage. In fact, these assemblies are proven to increase energy efficiency – saving up to $120 per opening annually on energy costs.

Power supply selection is often one of the last decisions made when creating an electrified access control solution. However, selecting the right power supply is as important as choosing the right locking devices and accessories that may be connected to it.

Designed to work with low-power electrified access control devices, Securitron EcoPower reduces standby power consumption to only 8.5mW, a 99% energy savings compared to linear and switching power supplies. EcoPower, when paired with a lock like EcoFlex from SARGENT and Corbin Russwin, can also reduce total door power consumption by up to 99%. Additionally, Securitron AQ Series Power Supplies offer clean, efficient and reliable power for high efficiency sustainable locking solutions as well as other applications.


Weathering the Storm

ASSA ABLOY offers a wide range of products that meet local and international building codes and FEMA guidelines related to hurricanes and tornados. Whether it is an exterior opening, a shelter door or storm shutters, ASSA ABLOY provides complete opening assemblies, including doors, frame and hardware tested together as an assembly to protect building occupants.

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Ensuring Safe, Efficient Egress

Our hardware brands offer mortise locks that are constructed with the highest quality components to provide maximum security, performance and durability. These locks are ideal for secondary entrances not regularly monitored that must withstand attempts at vandalism and forced entry.

Available with a wide range of options like electric latch retraction, delayed egress and dogging, ASSA ABLOY Group brands offer the industry’s strongest, most durable exit devices. Our robust exit devices are available in rim, mortise surface vertical and concealed vertical rod configurations with options for unique applications – including security kits, visual indicators, delayed egress, alarmed exit, electric latch retraction and more. Built to perform in the most abusive environments, they are ideal for K-12 applications.

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