Saturday, April 14, 2007

Assumed Leadership

Governor Fletcher has not protected our children. His inaction has burdened our schools. Thankfully, they are acting responsibly.

From the Louisville Courier-Journal:

Bulky guest books soon will be a thing of the past at South Oldham High School. Administrators recently purchased a machine that allows visitors to log into a database by simply scanning their driver's license. The machine, called a "School Check In," logs the guest's name, destination, arrival and departure time. A separate machine prints out an ID badge with the visitor's driver's license photo on it.

The "School Check In," which was purchased early last month for about $195, already has produced results, administrators say. "It makes the school seem more secure," principal Barbara Fendley said. "We're more aware of who's in the building."

Before purchasing the machine, the high school had visitors sign into a guest logbook. Then they were issued visitor badges. The problem was that not everyone signed into the book and the badges were inconsistent, Fendley said. Students and parents said the presence of the machine makes them feel a lot better about school safety. "I think it's overall better for the school," said Billy Steinbach, a 17-year-old junior. "It helps us know who's in the building and what time they left. It makes me feel a lot safer."

Vice principal Thomas Aberli said he saw the machine at an educator's conference and thought that it might improve tracking of its visitors. The machine requires a computer with Internet access. Along with scanning driver's licenses, it also runs the name of the visitor through a sexual predator Internet database. Aberli said the school will handle those situations on a case-by-case basis. The school gets about a dozen guests a day, many of whom meet with teachers, attend PTA meetings or volunteer.

At the end of each school day, administrators can print out a sheet showing who has entered the school. Administrators are still using the guest book until they determine if a digital sign-in complies with district policy. Many policies say schools must have a traditional guest book. They also want to make sure the sign-in machine works efficiently.

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