$96,000 System Checks for Sex Offenders at New Orleans Schools
- By Dian Schaffhauser
After a two-year pilot, schools in the St. Tammany Parish Public Schools in New Orleans will be implementing new visitor ID scanners to check visitors against the National Registry of Sex Offenders. The system, put together by ID Group in Jackson, MS, includes scanners, software, printers, and badges. It cost $96,000 and will cover 52 schools.
"We believe the initiative is a worthwhile, proactive means of helping schools manage visitors on our campuses," said Superintendent Gayle Sloan. "This is another means of helping safeguard our students."
School personnel will swipe a visitor's ID, whether driver's license or some other form of identification, and create a badge that can be used to track the person's arrival and departure from the building. The software will show the visitor's information, including name and address, gender, date of birth, and whether the person appears in sex offender databases.
If a positive identification is made, according to an article about the deployment in The Times-Picayune, the school principal will be notified. "If such a visitor is a parent who is coming to watch his or her child's play, for example, the principal might allow the visit but have the parent escorted during the performance."
According to district coverage, the system won't collect other personal information, such as Social Security number.
The same district will soon be installing security cameras in all schools as part of a $2.1 million security initiative included in a bond issue approved by voters in March 2008. The deployment of cameras will begin this fall.
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.