In my last blog, I referenced some of the security measures used on K-12 campuses, according to a Zogby International survey of 400 teachers. The most popular measure was some variation on visitor check-in/management.
Ninety percent of surveyed teachers said their school employs a visitor check-in process. And 80 percent require visitor identification badges. Sounds good, but in my experience this process usually involves a person walking into the office and signing his or her name in a book. Then the person prints a name on an adhesive sticker to be worn on a shirt or blouse. This works in the vast majority of cases, because most people are honest. But this procedure won’t stop bad guys from getting on campus.
Even if an office worker asks for a driver’s license or other form of ID, it’s hard to spot a fake. Also, thieves, sex predators, and other criminals carry legitimate state-issued licenses. An ID (real or fake) can’t guarantee its owner has good intentions. And you can likely buy the same stickers used as badges from any office supply store.
Only 12 percent of the teachers said their schools had a computerized visitor management system. I highly recommend these systems because they compare the name and address on an ID with an FBI list of known criminals and sex predators. The process takes only a few seconds. And most systems come with a camera that prints a photo ID badge that would be difficult to copy. Remember, federal statistics show there are more than 700,000 registered sex offenders in the U.S.
Also, each school can customize the systems to enter the names of non-custodial parents who aren’t legally permitted to remove a child from school.
One of the best ways to keep unwanted people away from the students is to not give them access to the campus. Computerized visitor management systems can help.
Patrick Fiel is public safety advisor for ADT Security Services and a former executive director of school security for Washington, D.C. Public School System. He also served 22 years in the Army Military Police Corps, where his responsibilities included day-to-day security operations at the West Point Military Academy. During his time with ADT, Fiel has conducted more than 100 television, radio, newspaper, and magazine interviews as a public and school safety expert.
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