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(844) 627-8267 | Info@NationalCyberSecurity

Wake County schools introducing new visitor management system to protect all inside | #schoolsaftey

CARY, N.C. (WNCN) — Changes are coming for people visiting Wake County schools in an effort to step up security.

During Tuesday’s school board policy committee meeting, district leaders presented the rules and procedures surrounding its new visitor management system.

The district’s Office of Security Senior Director Russ Smith plans for the system to be in all schools by July 1st. Visitors scan their ID and the system checks the sex offender registry and other databases before printing out a badge for the visitor to wear while they’re escorted through the school.

Smith said having the visitor management system brings consistency to managing visitors because schools previously handled visitors differently.

“What we’re doing is following steps and procedures to make sure these things are done more consistently across 200 schools,” Smith said. “So that everybody has a roadmap of exactly what to do and how we sign folks in, those fundamentals, along with this system are going to make our schools a lot safer.”

He said currently all schools have a single entry point for visitors, expect visitors to present ID and have a video phone system for visitors to buzz into before entering the building.

The visitor management system will be in the school’s main office, that board members note is not always next to the front door. CBS 17 asked Smith if he has concerns about what could happen between someone entering the building and reaching the main office.

“Some of the designs of our schools are a challenge, but not a challenge that we can’t overcome,” Smith said. “We just need to be more diligent and the R&P (rules and procedures) that we are developing are going to provide staff with step-by-step procedures to follow to make sure that we maintain a safe campus.”

Additionally, District 2 Board Member Monika Johnson-Hostler said the biggest challenge will be parents adjusting to the new system.

“Oftentimes as parents, they’re coming in and they want to rush right out to the doctor’s office if they’re picking it up, or dropping off because their student was late, but now it’s gonna take a little bit of time,” Johnson-Hostler said. “So I think it’s going to be both time to get used to it, but also it’s going to be more time for the process, but ultimately, I don’t think anybody’s going to have a problem with the challenge of time because it actually is more for our safety.”

In order to help parents get used to the new system, the district said there will be lots of communication with families next school year.

However, principals do have the discretion of when not to use this, such as if there’s an event at school. 

CBS 17 asked Smith what other changes families could expect next year based on the district-wide security assessment. Smith said he could not go into detail for security reasons, but said there are five items the district’s addressing that have been presented to the board in closed session.

Finally, Smith said the visitor management system was purchased with a grant from the North Carolina Center for Safer Schools that covers the full $532,000 cost. He said the system licensing is for three years, at which time the district will reevaluate.

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