Identification, Please? ‘Grove Heightens Its Security Rules

Identification, Please? 'Grove Heightens Security Policy

One example of a LobbyGuard scanner, which will be used by the Pottsgrove School District to check visitors against a sex offender database

POTTSTOWN PA – A digital scanner for personal identification cards such as driver’s licenses, linked to a national database of registered sex offenders, will be used by the Pottsgrove School District in all its schools to ensure student safety and building security under a policy revision unanimously approved Tuesday (Oct. 23, 2012) by the Board of School Directors.

The district will rely on an electronic visitor management system marketed by LobbyGuard Solutions LLC of Raleigh NC to conduct its background check “for all visitors who enter the school buildings when school is in session,” according to a four-page administrative regulation document that accompanied the policy change.

Concerns for school security are not new; the district’s original policy on school visitors has been in place since June 2009. It specifies who is considered a visitor, when and under what circumstances they will be granted access to a building, and how they must identify themselves to school officials.

The former policy, however, required visitors to merely report to a school office when entering, sign a register, and receive a pass. Technological innovations, the availability of more high-speed Internet service, and accessibility of sex offender databases gives Pottsgrove the ability to heighten its security procedures. The policy changes reflect that.

Upon entering a school lobby, visitors now will be required to present a driver’s license or another form of government-issued photo identification that will be scanned using a LobbyGuard device. It will compare the visitor information against only the database for sex offenders, and does not conduct a criminal background check, the policy states.

If no “alert” regarding a match against the database is indicated, visitors will receive and must wear a specially printed badge that will include their photo and name, and the date, time and destination of their visit. Visitors whose names produce an alert, and those who refuse to or who cannot provide identification, will be denied entry and asked to leave.

The policy revisions also address visits by parents or guardians whose names may be listed in the database, occasions when electrical power or Internet services are unavailable, and public or group events such as school board meetings and concerts.

The revised policy, No. 907, is expected to be made available on the district website in coming weeks.

Related (to the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors’ Oct. 23 meeting):

Photo composite from Google Images