As security concerns increase at school campuses across the nation, security ID badges are playing a larger role. As their value goes beyond simply identifying students, administrators are recognizing the benefits of ID cards in their schools.
ID badges can improve school security in a number of ways, and each school can customize what information is included on badges to provide added layers of security. Let’s look at how ID badges can help enhance school security and what steps you can take to make your cards even more effective.
How Do ID Badges Improve School Security?
ID badges immediately improve security because they verify that the people carrying them are supposed to be on-site. Whether that individual is a student, staff member, visitor or a teacher, school ID badges are designed to provide immediately recognizable credentials. Many schools now require all school staff members and students to carry ID badges at all times, and some also issue lanyards in the school colors so students and staff can wear their IDs around their necks. This means that, even from a distance, it’s clear that they belong.
When ID badges become a requirement for students and staff, they also become mandatory for any visitors to campus. Color coding can help differentiate staff, students, teachers and visitors.
The more customized or complex the design of the badge, the harder it is to replicate and the easier it is to identify that it’s a legitimate ID. Incorporating school colors, a particular font, a photo of the school mascot or even using holographic security images are all ways to make the card more secure. The more features the design has, the more difficult it will be to copy.
More applications for such cards are being discovered as technology evolves. In addition to ensuring that everyone who enters the building belongs there, ID cards can also be useful for tracking bus usage, school attendance or granting parking lot access.
You can limit access to areas like a supply closet or teachers’ lounge by installing smart locks and card readers on entry doors. And, in crisis situations where a lockdown may occur, student ID badges offer an efficient way to make sure all students are accounted for.
Adding Layers of Security to Your Badges
While a basic ID badge with the relevant cardholder data (name, photo, student ID number, etc.) is a great start for improving the security of your campus, today there are even more options that allow you to further enhance your school IDs. The type of ID badge you select will determine what kind of data you can include. There are three basic types of badge security options to choose from:
- Barcode — Barcodes are a popular and cost-effective way to use computer automation for enhanced security. The codes are scanned and read by a barcode reader to verify the cardholder’s identity.
- Magnetic stripe — A magnetic stripe ID card is also known as a magstripe card. The card is made from PVC and has a band of magnetic material embedded in the coating on the back of the card. The stripe is encoded with the cardholder’s data and is read by swiping the card through a magnetic stripe card reader.
- Smart card encoding — Smart cards are equipped with a microprocessor that allows the card to transmit and receive data from a card reader. It can hold more than 100 times more data than a magstripe card and offers the most flexibility in terms of how much and what type of data you store. However, it’s also the most expensive option.
The best option for your school depends on how you plan to implement card use, what kind of card readers are currently in place and what type of card reading system you will have in the future.
Designing Your Card for Better Security
When designing the card, certain information is essential, such as the student’s photo, name, grade and student ID number. But cards also provide an opportunity to include additional useful information; for example, the back of the card can be designed to include information such as the name and phone number of an emergency contact or a list of any allergies and required medications.
Other content options could include a list of school events and holidays, a map of the campus or an emergency checklist. Once you have decided on the type of badge you’re going to provide for students, staff and teachers, you’ll also need to determine how it will be displayed. As mentioned earlier, lanyards that can be worn around the neck are a popular choice, but there are other options, such as clips, reels and beaded chains.
If you are implementing a mandatory ID badge program for the first time, it’s a good idea to inform parents, students, staff members and teachers in advance about the decision and explain how it will benefit the safety and security of all on campus.
There are many ways to approach your school’s ID badges; you’ll choose what kind of card reader to use and what information to include. You might want to outsource your ID badge project, or you may want to invest in your own card printer and handle all of the production and printing on-site. Whichever way you choose to approach it, you’ll know you are investing in the safety of your staff, students and school district. Sign up below to get exclusive access to ID Shop’s best deals in security badges and more.