Zionsville adds extra layer of protection at schools

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Zionsville, Ind. - Visitors to Zionsville Community Schools will notice a new layer of security this year.

The procedure to get inside the buildings remains the same, which means visitors get buzzed in and then check in at the office.

But now, once inside, school visitors will undergo a quick background check.

"We started looking into these last fall," said Dan Layton, ZCS Chief Technology Officer. "We researched several companies and looked into what would be cost effective and safe and easy to use and ultimately decided on the Safe Visitor program. It allows us to track all the people coming to the school, when they’re here and why they’re visiting, and it also cross references against a national sex offender registry for our visitors as well."

The program scans the back of a driver's license and in a matter of seconds, search results appear on the screen.

If the visitor passes the check, they are photographed and given a temporary badge.

A red stop sign is on the badge. A special sticker is put over it and the stop sign will bleed through that sticker and appear again within six to eight hours, so the badge can't be used over and over again.

"When parents feel safe, when students feel safe, teachers feel safe, it leads to a productive learning environment and that’s really what we’re after. So this extra layer will help that piece out, making everybody feel safe and keeping out those that don’t really need to be on school grounds."

The entire check-in process takes about 30 seconds.

"So far, so good. We’ve had very few problems and it seems like it’s going really well. No complaints from our secretaries or parents so far. Security and safety is something we’re constantly evaluating. We want to make the school is as safe as possible. It’s always our first priority."

"If somebody came and it did match up, we have something that we would hit and they would be denied. It would alert all the appropriate personnel to come to that exact location then and there. It sends an instant text and email alert to all the appropriate personnel to come to that spot."

School volunteers go through a bigger background check with Indiana State Police.