A woman walked into the office of Roundtown Elementary in Manchester Township, she was asked immediately if she had her driver’s license. The school secretary then proceeded to scan her identification and then check her computer screen. After getting approval the secretary printed out a picture badge and put a red sticker on it.
This procedure is part of the School Gate Guardian System used by Central York School District. The system checks a visitor’s data against a registered sex offender database. It also works in conjunction with the district’s created database of information regarding custody agreements.
If there are no issues with the check a visitor’s badge will be printed with their name, picture and a bar code. When the visitor leaves the badge is scanned to check them out. This allows the district account for visitors in the building. A red sticker is also placed on the badge. After 12 hours, ‘void’ will appear on the sticker so the badge cannot be used again.
“They only need to have it scanned one time, and then they are logged into our Central Database. And that database isn’t shared with anyone other than right here in our school district,” said Principal of Roundtown Elementary School Matthew Miller. “After that, visitors only need to give their name and their date of birth. We can pull them up within that database and because the picture is linked to their driver’s license, their picture id shows up on the screen. It gives us really an accountability system to make sure we are getting students with the appropriate person.”
The school district got the idea after the Sandy Hook tragedy last December. “We started to really engage with a lot of conversations with parents and guardians, faculty and staff and community members about the safety and security of our facilities,” said Julie Romig, Director of Communications with Central York School District. “Their biggest concerns were how were we managing who was coming in and out of our building, who was gaining access to students during the school day, and who we were giving students to if they had to leave early for appointments.”
“It’s been overwhelmingly positive. And I believe most family members feel that it is a proactive step to take in this day and age,” said Miller.