The Mahomet-Seymour School District unrolled added security measures to its four schools within the first few months of the 2018-19 school year.
Visitors have been required to request admittance by pressing a button located outside each school since 2014. Beginning Nov. 1, 2018, guests are also required to present their ID when visiting during the school day to be scanned by SchoolSafe ID before going to their destination.
Superintendent Lindsey Hall said the SchoolSafe ID system scans the nation-wide sex offender database, orders of protection and no-contact orders. She also said the information is not stored by the district or the SchoolSafe system.
If the system signals a problem, the office secretaries will alert the building’s administration team or the student resource officer.
Once the ID has been scanned, visitors will receive a badge with their picture to be worn during their time in the building. The badge must be re-scanned when the visitor is leaving the building.
Schools within the Mahomet-Seymour district often open their doors to parents and community members during events such as classroom parties or Veterans Day. On such occasions, where hundreds of people could visit the building, Hall said the SchoolSafe ID check-in system will not be utilized.
“For this, we had multiple entrances available to the many guests with staff members stationed at entrances with a sign-in sheet,” she said.
Guests will also not be required to sign-in after school hours when extra-curricular events are happening.
The M-S School District also instituted volunteer background checks for the 2018-19 school year.
In a guideline document provided by the district, background checks are required for volunteers who will be working one-on-one with a student or chaperoning an event.
Hall said the measures are not meant to discourage parental or community involvement in the schools, but rather to add protection for students and staff.
“This is simply one more step in providing the safest environment we can, within our means and control, for our students, our staff and for our guests,” she said.
“We would probably all like to revert back to a time when this wasn’t necessary, but it is now. We have guests who come to our schools from around the globe, and while the majority of people who want to visit us are welcome in our buildings, some are not for reasons stated above.
“We no longer reside in an idyllic world that is free from family, community and domestic conflict, which is unfortunate, but it is reality that we are responding to, hopefully proactively.
“We encourage and support parental involvement, which looks different across the district depending upon the age and needs of the child(ren).”
The Mahomet-Seymour School District made a $16,000 investment in the SchoolSafe ID system. They plan to continue the contract at $3,000 per year after the 2018-19 school year.
The money will be taken from the Tort Liability Fund, which is allotted for lessening the District’s exposure to risk and liability and safety and security measures.
Hall said the upgrades were suggested by the District’s insurance agent and Bushue Human Resources, with which the District holds a contract.