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Kiosks guard the lobbies at Lenape district's high shools
By ED MOORHOUSE
Burlington County Times
The Lenape Regional High School District has turned to a comprehensive computer system to monitor visitors who pass through its four schools each day.
LobbyGuard, an electronic visitor management system, was installed before the start of the school year at Seneca High School in Tabernacle, and was later added in the main offices at Cherokee High School in Evesham, and Shawnee and Lenape High schools in Medford.
The LobbyGuard kiosk eliminates the days of paper sign-in sheets, and seems to be a major security upgrade for the schools.
Upon checking in, a visitor must type in his or her name and the purpose of the visit at a LobbyGuard kiosk in the main office.
The system then takes a photograph of the visitor and prints a photo ID sticker that includes the date, time and visit purpose. The visitor must wear the badge at all times during his or her stay.
“Our purpose is safety first,” said Len Iannelli, director of special services for the high school district. “This is another resource to ensure the safety of our children. It's not the end-all, be-all of safety in schools, but it is a valuable tool.”
The LobbyGuard system also includes a feature that requires the visitor to scan his or her driver's license.
In addition, it provides an instant background check against the National Sex Offender Registry, and checks against each school's “red flag” list of individuals who are not allowed in the building.
“LobbyGuard raises security well above and beyond keeping a paper record,” said Kevin Allen, president of North Carolina-based LobbyGuard Solutions LLC. “Most importantly, it provides a filter and links to a database of 500,000 sex offenders.”
Iannelli said the system would notify school officials of a match to the sex-offender registry within seconds.
“We would know almost instantaneously if there was a match,” he said.
According to the LobbyGuard Solutions Web site, if a match is made, the visitor would receive a badge with the word “void” printed on it. The visitor would then be instructed to hand the badge to a school employee.
The system would instantly notify school officials via e-mail or phone message that a match has been made against the list of unwanted visitors.
The void badge contains an identification number that is used by a school official to look up the matched record on the LobbyGuard.com Web site, which lists all information available on the unwanted visitor.
Lenape Principal Tony Cattani said once the school's construction project is complete, a visitor won't be able to enter the building without going through the LobbyGuard system.
“When our construction is complete, our main office will be located on Hartford Road. The visitor would open a door to a foyer where they would have to go through the LobbyGuard system,” Cattani said. “The ID badge would print inside (the main office) and the information would be checked before the person is buzzed in through a second set of doors.”
Currently, the system is only used for visitors who pass through the schools during the day. It is not used to monitor each person who comes to a sporting event or other activities scheduled after school hours, but such a use remains a possibility.
“We're always assessing what we're doing and working in conjunction with local and state police to improve safety at those events,” Iannelli said.
District officials were unable to say last week how much the LobbyGuard systems cost.
LobbyGuard Solutions serves school districts in all 50 states, Allen said.
January 20, 2008 7:12 AM