Local schools go high-tech on visitor checks

HUMMELSTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – The Lower Dauphin School District is changing how visitors sign in with a new software program called School Gate Guardian.

Lower Dauphin spokesman Jim Hazen said the district is implementing the new system to keep students and staff safe. Visitors will be required to scan a driver’s license or approved identification card to receive a visitor pass.

The information the visitor provides will be checked against a district-maintained database. If no matches are found, the visitor will receive a badge with their name, photo, the reason for the visit, and location of visit.

When the visit has ended, the visitor must return to the office to scan the bar code and report they are leaving. This will help administrators in the event of an emergency or evacuation to know exactly who is on the campus.

Lower Dauphin is not alone. The West Shore School District started the new program last Wednesday for their 7,800 students. Cumberland Valley School District implemented the program seven years ago. Lebanon implemented it in 2013.

A spokesperson for the School District of the City of York said they hadn’t heard about the program. The district still uses a pen and paper sign-in sheet. Because of our story, York plans to look into the technologically advanced system.

Lower Dauphin said it cost less than $10,000 to install the program. The district received a $2,000 grant from the Dauphin County Emergency Management Agency. Lebanon School District said it costs about $1,700 in annual fees and supplies to keep the program up and running.

The School Gate Guardian system recognizes all return visitors and volunteers. All first-time visitors will be scanned.

Lower Dauphin says the data will remain private unless there is an incident in which information must be released to police. For more information on the district’s new program, go to http://bit.ly/2iytmb1.

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