USD 259 pilots “Hall Pass” visitor security system

WICHITA, Kansas – Four USD 259 schools will pilot school security systems designed to make the school campuses safer.

Southeast High School, Christa McAuliffe Academy, Curtis Middle School, and Caldwell Elementary began testing two different visitor management security systems on Monday.

Southeast and McAuliffe are piloting the “Hall Pass” program. Curtis and Caldwell are piloting “Lobby Guard.” The test period will conclude on May 16.

KSN received a demonstration of the Hall Pass security program Monday at Southeast High School.

“It’s another layer of information for us to be able to know who’s coming in our building, what access they have, and being able to make sure that they are monitored as close as possible,” said Principal Leroy Parks.

During the school day, visitors only have access to Southeast High School through two entrances. Those two entrances are always manned by school officials. School officials will now immediately send all visitors to the front office to use the Hall Pass system.

Visitors will be required to sign in by scanning their driver’s license or government-issued identification card with Hall Pass. The security system performs an instant sex offender screening. If a visitor passes the check, they receive a custom photo ID visitor’s badge to wear while on campus, and are then entered into the Hall Pass database.

If a visitor is not cleared through the sexual offender national database, an alert appears on the computer monitor. Administrators across campus also receive a text message alert.

Frequent school visitors and volunteers can bypass the extended process by using a key fob after their initial visit. Key fobs allow for quicker check-ins on future visits. A screening, however, will still be conducted each time the key fob is scanned.

“Once they go through that, the next time they come they do not have to do that. They’re already in the system,” said Parks.

Along with parents and volunteer visitors, the Hall Pass will be used on vendors who have access to the school, e.g. soda machine stock employees.

The Hall Pass system can also be used to track volunteer hours.

Most parents KSN spoke with support the implementation of a security system.

“It’d be a great idea because then you can tell immediately whether it’s somebody that should be coming into the building or not be allowed at all,” said Leanne Bryant, a mother of three.

“I think it’s great! I don’t think we can be too careful with our kids’ safety,” said Jennifer Molen.

An evaluation survey will be available Thursday, May 1 for parents at Southeast High School’s website.

Based on staff and parent feedback received during the pilot test program at all four schools, Wichita Public Schools will then select a visitor management system, either Hall Pass or Lobby Guard, to be implemented in the fall of 2014 at all district schools.

Parents told KSN that no matter what, the implementation of a program should not be based on cost.

“You can’t put a price on the life of a child… it’d be worth the money to implement that into the schools,” said Bryant.

More information about the pilot programs can be found online at the district’s website.

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