New Jersey school improves its locking system
- By April Noblitt
- Jun 01, 2014
Located about 20 miles northwest of Newark, Livingston Public
Schools serve almost 5,800 students with an instructional staff of 524
in its K-12 system. Its nine schools include six elementary schools,
two middle schools and one high school. Some of these buildings
date back to the 1940s and 1950s while others were built within the
past few years, including a new science and athletic building at the high school.
To help secure their schools, the Livingston Public School system started with
an initial installation of several off-line, computer-managed locks and has moved to
online electronic locks with multi-technology readers that accommodate its proximity
card system while also providing flexibility for future generations of credentials.
Past Success Predicts the Future
Livingston’s move into electronic locking began several years ago when it installed
Schlage computer-managed, offline locks on exterior doors at its elementary
schools. Paul Ko, manager of buildings and grounds, said that this was done to
provide a single, controlled point of access in which staff members could access
with a proximity card reader.
Recently, the district added Schlage AD-400 wireless electronic locks and
XceedID proximity credentials. These locks provide online, real-time access control
for exterior doors and are managed by the same software as the existing offline
locks within a single database. These new locks are wireless, which made installation
easier than running wires to each door and provided flexibility in locating
locks to meet future needs.
These locks are designed with easily changeable reader modules so they can be
upgraded without changing the entire lock. They combine all the required hardware
components into one integrated design that incorporates the electrified lock,
credential reader, request-to-exit and door position switches, and tamper guard.
The most extensive system is at the high school. Ko said that six entrances at the
high school are controlled by these locks to provide convenient access from multiple
parking lots while helping to protect students, teachers, staff and school assets.
They provide the flexibility needed to
accommodate other people’s schedules,
such as athletic coaches, who need after-
hours access to specific facilities. He
added that the system’s software makes
it easy to update access privileges and
schedules, as well as manage locking
and closing schedules.
Livingston Public Schools use a combination
photo identification badge
and proximity card credential. Ko said
that these are carried on a lanyard by
all faculty and staff members and also
are used for other purposes, such as
to access a district-wide, networked
For mechanically-keyed locks on
interior doors, this school is installing
Schlage ND-Series cylindrical locks
with an Everest key system. These
locks include a function that allows a
teacher to secure a door from inside
a classroom, rather than having to go
into a corridor to lock the door during
an emergency situation. In some cases,
hardware with this function is being
installed on exterior doors that have
electronic locks to facilitate a quick
lockdown when bringing students in
Most Livingston schools are keyed
so that all teachers in the school have
the same key. At the high school, for
example, keys are divided by sections
or departments, so the science and
music department might be keyed differently.
If a key is lost, this approach
reduces the number of locks that must
be rekeyed by restricting them to one
building, department or area.
Other hardware solutions that support
Livingston’s school security include
LCN door closers that ensure
doors are properly closed and latched;
LCN Auto Equalizer power door operators
that provide easier access for
those with disabilities; and Von Duprin
XP99-Series exit devices that combine
greater security with emergency egress.
Other Types of Security
In addition to the access control system,
Livingston restricts visitor access
to one secure entrance equipped with
either a camera and card reader or a
buzzer and intercom.
“We acknowledge them and also
photograph them going in and out,”
Ko said. “We also have an expanse of
cameras throughout the building so we
can monitor the hallways.”
According to township code, Ko
said that the schools conduct a fire and
lockdown drill every month.
“In each lockdown drill, the police
will conduct a different version, possibly
an interior or exiting drill, and at a
different time of day to reflect real situations,”
As with most school security systems,
Livingston’s plans continue to
evolve, combining improvements and
upgrades in electronic and mechanical
solutions with video
monitoring and staff
This article originally appeared in the June 2014 issue of Security Today.