Keeping tabs on visitors: M-S' new kiosks scan IDs, alert officials with concerns

Out with the old and in with the new.

Earlier this month, Mahomet-Seymour schools implemented School Safe ID, a new visitor management and student hall pass system. With the swipe of a driver's license or state ID, a visitor's name and sign-in time is noted by the system and a sticker pass with the visitor's photo, sign-in time and a barcode prints out.

"No other information is collected from the driver's license," said Jared Lynn, M-S district network specialist. "It's just first and last name and date of birth."

Not only is it a farewell to the old pen and paper system riddled with human error, but School Safe ID enhances school safety efforts.

"In doing so (scanning a driver's license or state ID), we are doing a scan of the National Sex Offender Database," Superintendent Lindsey Hall said.

School Safe ID also allows M-S to create an internal list for additional safety measures.

"We are also working on entering current orders of protection and no-contact orders into the system," Hall said.

And should there be a problem?

"A text is sent to our administration and our school resource officer who can handle whatever is going on," Hall added.

But School Safe ID isn't just for visitors, it's for students, too.

"So say a student comes in late, they get a tardy pass from this device as well," Lynn said.

To leave, it's as simple as a tap of the sign-out button and scanning of the visitor's pass barcode.

And for those who do not want to use their driver's license or state ID for each and every visit, School Safe ID allows visitors to create a digital pass by entering their phone number and email address into the kiosk.

Once submitted, visitors have the option to store a digital pass onto their phone's wallet or wallet pass, which allows them to scan the pass for future use.

Each scan is instantaneous and checks the National Sex Offender Database and built-in M-S database with each and every visit.

"There's no collection of data," Lynn said.

"It's not stored. It's not transferred. It's not sold," Hall added. "The only thing that's retained is first and last name."

M-S purchased six School Safe ID kiosks total — two for the high school, one for the junior high, one for Lincoln Trail Elementary School and two for Middletown Prairie Elementary School.

The total cost for the kiosks is $16,000 (approximately $2,666.67 per device) and $3,000 ($500 per device) annually for software licensing. The devices were paid for with M-S' Tort Liability Fund, which focuses on funding school safety initiatives.

"We're always on the lookout for ways that we feel we can make our system safer," Hall said. "This certainly isn't foolproof. We have to be realistic that there are some people who shouldn't be allowed into our schools, and this takes the burden off our school secretaries to make a decision or to possibly check a sex offender list."

Categories (2):News, Education

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