July 22, 2008
A private technocorrections development to watch for sex offenders
This local article discusses a notable new technology that school are using to try to prevent sex offenders from getting into schools:
The device scans a visitor's driver's license to quickly let school personnel know if the visitor is on the national sex offender list. It also snaps a picture. Those who pass the screening get a sticker to wear bearing their name and photo, as well as the date and time they arrived.
Schools also may program LobbyGuard to notify them of parents or others who aren't supposed to have contact with certain children. When a noncustodial dad who wasn't permitted to pick up his children entered Cross Creek last spring, LobbyGuard immediately sent an e-mail to office personnel and to Principal Joe Nieuwkoop's phone and computer.
Officials discreetly denied him access, said Jeff Reinke, director of information technology services for National Heritage Academies, which manages Cross Creek and 54 other charter schools nationwide. NHA has installed LobbyGuard in all its schools, Reinke said. While the system is popular on the East Coast, NHA schools are the only ones in Michigan using it....
LobbyGuard machines retail for $10,000, but schools can buy them for $6,000 each, according to the LobbyGuard Web site. NHA refused to say how much it paid for its 55 machines. LobbyGuard, based in Raleigh, N.C., is a division of Pitney Bowes, a company that helps organizations manage technology. Schools are its biggest client, but the "visitor management system" also in being used in the lobbies of corporate offices, hospitals and government buildings, said LobbyGuard President Kevin Allen.
The machines can be programmed to allow visitors without a driver's license to type in their name and birth date for an ID badge. They also can skip the sex-offender check if a business doesn't deem it necessary. Also, LobbyGuard doesn't check for felony convictions because there is no national database for the information and because some states put a limit on the type of background check that can be done on someone who is simply visiting a public building, Allen said.
July 22, 2008 at 08:46 AM | Permalink
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