All visitors, contract workers and volunteers stepping foot on Laguna Beach campuses during regular school hours will soon be required to undergo security screening to gain entrance.
Administrators are rolling out a visitor management software system to bolster security at all four campuses starting in April. The system will scan and read a state issued driver’s license, identification or passport before a badge is issued to a visitor, according to the contract agreement on this week’s school board agenda.
The badge will have a picture, name, date, time and the area or classroom of the school the person is visiting. If a parent has children at more than one school, he or she will have to provide identification the first time at every school they visit. Each visitor will be instantly screened against the registered sex offender database in all 50 states, said Jeff Dixon, interim assistant superintendent of business services.
“I wasn’t really comfortable with this at first because it’s hard to accept that we are at this point in society, but we are,” said school board President Jan Vickers during the meeting Tuesday, March 14, where the $8,250 initial contract with Raptor Technologies was approved. “It really is kind of a shame we need to do it, but parents were asking for it.”
Despite her misgivings, Vickers joined her colleagues voting 4-0 for the deal, which requires $2,700 in licensing fees annually. Board member Dee Perry was absent.
“It’s a necessary accommodation to protect our students,” Vickers said.
The new technology is not in response to a breach in security, said Dixon, but a proactive step used by Anaheim Elementary, Irvine, and Santa Ana districts.
The school district recently installed scores of surveillance cameras on its four campuses in the wake of a break-in and vandalism of school property.
The visitor security system only stores a person’s name and whether or not they are a registered sex offender. No other information is stored by the system or the district, says a district announcement.
“Once you’re in, your in,” said board member Peggy Wolff to ease concerns expressed by some parents about how the new system will work.
The visitor security system will also give administrators immediate knowledge of who is on campus if an emergency does occur, Dixon said.
The system will not be in use after school hours, such as sports events or weekend activities.
The system uses a visitor’s name, address and photograph to compare to a nationwide sex offender database, If the system identifies a match between the visitor and the database, the school’s administrator is alerted, says a district announcement.
Raptor can customize the system to include, for instance, alerts about child custody or banned visitors, according to the website of the Houston-based company.