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Visitors to Middletown Area School District classrooms face tighter security check

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 9/20/17

You will need a driver’s license or other form of state identification to visit any school buildings in Middletown Area School District from now on.

The school district beginning this school …

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Visitors to Middletown Area School District classrooms face tighter security check

Posted

You will need a driver’s license or other form of state identification to visit any school buildings in Middletown Area School District from now on.

The school district beginning this school year is using a new visitor security check-in system at all five of its buildings.

The system is known as the Scholar Chip Visitor Management System. Parents and guardians were informed of the new system in a letter sent out on Aug. 11 from Superintendent Lori Suski.

The school board on June 19 awarded a contract to purchase the system for $9,500, plus $500 for installation. The district is paying for the system using a state grant under the Safe Schools program, said district CFO David Franklin. Scholar Chip was the lowest responsible bidder for the system.

The system uses a computer terminal into which a person’s driver’s license is scanned. The terminal is also used to take a photo of the visitor. The terminal then prints out a badge that the visitor is to wear while he or she is in the building. The photo stays in the data base so visitors don’t have to have their photo taken every time they visit a school. 

However, visitors will have to bring their driver’s license every time, so that information from the license can be checked against the license information on file in the data base. The terminal will print out a new badge for the person to wear every time he or she comes to the building.

If you don’t have a driver’s license, you can use a photo ID from the state Department of Motor Vehicles which is available to non-drivers, Suski said in an email to the Press & Journal.

“It just has to be an identification that can be scanned and checked against a state database,” Suski said.

The high-tech Scholar Chip system is replacing the old system where visitors were issued a name tag after signing their name on a notebook.

The school district will be able to maintain “a history” of visitors who have checked in and out of each school, Suski said in the letter to parents and guardians.

The system will enable the district to better track visitors in all buildings, allow staff to clearly identify guests, and assist the district “in protecting our students from unwanted visitors.”

The system also checks the sexual predator data base “to ensure that known predators are not approved to unknowingly enter our schools,” Suski said.

The system does not replace the district conducting background checks for volunteers and chaperones, who must still complete the volunteer forms and pass the necessary background checks in order to be a volunteer with district students.

Visitors’ badges will not be required for situations such as dropping off and picking up students, and public events such as athletic activities, open houses, concerts, etc.