The Central York School District has started off its 2013-14 academic year with a new security system for student safety.
The district, which started classes last week, has a visitor management software system known as School Gate Guardian.
The system was added in response to administrators' and parents' concerns for student security after the deadly shootings in December at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., said Julie Randall Romig, Central York's spokeswoman.
"Many parents said the visitors management policy procedures could be stronger in terms of who we were allowing to have access to students, how people would come to pick up students and drop things off for the students," Romig said. "(Parents) were asking us (to ensure) that the right students are going with the right person."
How it works: With the School Gate Guardian system, visitors are required to have their driver's licenses or state photo identifications cards scanned by a building receptionist.
The software system checks the cards' information against a nationwide sex offender database and the school district's database that includes names, addresses and visitors restrictions, as well as parent/guardian custodial and no-access to child information, Romig said.
If there are no discrepancies involving the databases, School Gate Guardian will generate a visitor's badge with the visitor's name and picture and a barcode, which is scanned when the visitor returns the badge.
However, if the system detects a problem between the visitor's scanned information and the databases, the system will immediately send a text alert and email to building administrators so they can assist the receptionist in addressing the issue, Romig said.
If there is concern that a disruptive visitor will visit other district schools, the system can be used to alert office staff in those facilities, she said.
The information: "Ninety-five percent of the information it gathers is what we already have on school files," Romig said. "The other five percent are from people working for (courier services) or local agencies, or community members who don't have children in the district, but are coming in during school hours."
The data collected from visitors' photo identifications are kept in a secure, encrypted local server that is maintained by the district with only a few administrators having the password, she said.
The district set aside $25,000 in the 2012-2013 budget to purchase School Gate Guardian. The system's licensing fees are $3,000 per year. The district also budgeted $500 annually for supplies, according to Romig.
The district continues to use double-locking front entryways, locked classroom doors, and video monitoring of exits and entrances, Romig said.