Lock upgrades protect school from threats big and small


A comprehensive security solution is keeping students and staff safe at a New England high school. Stonington High School could serve as a model for other schools.

Ken Donovan, facility manager for the Stonington School System in Connecticut, says the town decided to upgrade school security during a renovation project in 2004. “We realized that a few simple locking hardware upgrades would greatly help protect our students and staff.”

Longtime lock supplier SARGENT Manufacturing showed how recent locking innovations, coupled with other hardware technologies, could be used to improve safety and security.

Access to the school is restricted to the main entrance; even there, visitors or students arriving late must be buzzed in by the main office. Teachers and staff, however, can enter unimpeded thanks to ID cards with SARGENT proximity tags that work in conjunction with HID proximity readers on the main entrance.

While doorways are heavily secured, life-safety is never compromised. All exterior doorways are equipped with exit devices and are set up to allow free egress at all times. SARGENT magnetic closer/holders on cross-corridor openings allow the doors to remain open and still meet fire codes by integrating with the fire alarm system.

Classroom door with SARGENTAll classroom doors are equipped with SARGENT 8200 Series mortise locks, which allow the school to implement a lockdown in case of emergency.

There have been no major security incidents at the school, but it has suffered occasional vandalism and theft. Now, each student must carry a prox card ID badge, which shows who entered which room when. “The audit trail acts as a deterrent, and cameras throughout the building help us keep track of hallway activities,” Donovan says.

The system also gives Stonington Police officers immediate access into the school.

Donovan, who has taken locksmith training, knows the importance of key control. He opted for a four-tier SARGENT Signature key system for the school.

All the SARGENT locks at the school include MicroShield™ antimicrobial coating.

“The school district has been proactive in embracing new technologies,” Donovan says. “Parents see we are trying hard to keep their kids safe.”