4 Wichita schools testing new security measures

By: KAKE News - Email
By: KAKE News - Email

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WICHITA, Kan. — Four Wichita schools are testing systems designed to make safe schools even safer.

Starting today, Southeast High School, Christa McAuliffe Academy, Curtis Middle School and Caldwell Elementary will pilot two different visitor management systems. Southeast and McAuliffe will pilot Hall Pass and Curtis and Caldwell will pilot Lobby Guard until May 16.

"It's another layer of information for us to be able to know who is coming into our building, what access they have, and be able to make sure they are monitored as closely as possible," said Southeast High School Principal Leroy Parks.

The systems will be located in the front office. Visitors who come to the school and interact with students will be required to sign in by scanning their driver’s license each time they visit the school during
bell hours. The system will use information from each visitor’s driver’s license or government-issued identification card to perform an instant screening for sex offenders against a national database.

All visitors who check in will receive a custom-printed photo ID badge to wear that day while at school.

Visitors will check in and out with this system each time they visit the school. Frequent school visitors may receive a key fob with a unique number that allows for quicker check-in on future visits. Those using
the key fob will also be screened by the system each time it is scanned.

"It does a check every 24 hours," Parks said. "It reloads."

Those who will be asked to use this new system include:

• Parents, guardians and other visitors who volunteer in or observe classrooms or student activity areas.

• Parents, guardians or other appropriate visitors who eat lunch with their student, who may be at school for a birthday celebration or classroom activity, or who may drive for a field trip.

• Vendors and other community partners who have access to the school to execute their work duties.

The visitor management system will also help schools track and recognize the many hours that volunteers contribute to supporting students each day.

Most parents who spoke with KAKE News say they are excited about the system.

"I think it's a pretty good idea," Shanda Terrel said. "It couldn't hurt to have a little more security to know who is going in and out of schools."

"It'll make it easier for the parents to get in and get their kids safely and not have to worry about someone coming in and walking off with them," Michael Harrison said.

Based on parent and staff feedback during the test period, the Wichita Public Schools will select a system to implement district-wide in the fall.

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