OXFORD – Visitors to Oxford schools will undergo a new electronic check-in process before gaining access to student areas.
“The new ‘LobbyGuard’ system is a visitor management system that is in place in all our schools in the district,” said Superintendent Brian Harvey. “It requires people to sign in, and they have to show an ID card. That automatically runs a background check and alerts the office staff if there are any problems. Our school resource officers are also notified by text message.”
It typically takes about half a minute for LobbyGuard to scan a visitor’s photo ID, take a digital facial photo and cross-reference his or her name and birthdate through national sex offender registries.
District spokesman Kelly Graeber said the kiosk may draw a crowd near the beginning or end of the school day.
“It’s a quick process, but in case there are several people checking in at the same time, we encourage people to leave some time before the event they’re attending,” she said.
Harvey noted that LobbyGuard does not address every possible safety issue. “It’s a visual deterrent to (potential criminals),” he said. “It’s yet another layer of security for our students, faculty and staff.”
Sgt. Jeff Edge, resource officer at Della Davidson Elementary School, said it’s valuable to know who’s on the campus.
“It’s even for visitors’ safety,” he said. “It helps us to know who is here, in case there’s a fire or emergency.”
An automatic check of sex offender registries is no casual thought for Oxford. Some time ago, Harvey said, a parent named a sex offender as one of the people authorized to pick up that parent’s child from school. State and federal laws forbid such registered people even to enter the grounds of a school, but a teacher recognized the sex offender and alerted school resource officers.
“LobbyGuard is one more tool that we have in place to keep our school campuses safe,” Harvey said.