Sex-offender checks in schools

Prince William County Public Schools is implementing a new electronic Visitor Identification System in all schools.

Effective December 3, Adults visiting Prince William Public Schools will have to present government-issued identification under a new security measure designed to keep sex offenders out. The computerized system runs each visitor against state-run offender databases nationwide to keep track of who visits students.

"This gives us an instant check on whether or not somebody coming into a school, be it a parent, an offender, what have you, is in a national [sex offender] database," incoming school board Chairman Milton Johns said.

The new computerized system, which costs $130,000 to start and about $37,000 each year, has been used on three campuses since a pilot program began in the spring. [Ed: Wait a minute! I can do this check with my $1,000 computer and an Internet connection. Why $130K + $37K/year? Also, when was the last time you heard of a sex offender (who wasn't a teacher) entering a school during classes and either molesting or kidnapping a student? This is sheer madness!]

"When you walk in, they run your driver's license through a scanner the size of a hand-held stapler. It takes your name and date of birth and runs it against the sex-offender databases in every state and would look for a match," he said. Photos will be used to compare people with identical names and birthdays.

If a parent with a legitimate educational reason for being on the campus has a hit on the database, the school staff will take extra caution and restrict him or her to the office area, Crowe said.

No comments: