Saturday, January 29, 2022

Oxford Schools Implement New Security Measures

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Oxford School District Communications Coordinator Kelly Graber demonstrates the new security kiosk at Oxford High School / Photo By Jared Sensemnan

The Oxford School District has positioned new visitor’s kiosks in all of its schools to further protect its students.

The kiosks, installed by LobbyGuard Solutions of Raliegh, N.C., will run background checks on visitors to all of the  schools within the school district, according to Communications Coordinator Kelly Graeber.

“After the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, and an online threat made against Oxford High School last year, the decision was made to use the new safety feature – a visitor management system kiosk, known as LobbyGuard — to offer another level of security to protect our school campuses and students,” Graeber stated in an email interview.

Graeber said many parents had their first experience with the kiosk yesterday, on the Oxford School district’s first day of school for the 2013-2014 school year.

“The visitor check-in system went into place starting last week,” Graeber said. “All visitors — parents, vendors, visitors and others — must go through the visitor check-in process before they gain access to any school campus within the Oxford School District.”

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Photo By Jared Senseman

The kiosk runs background checks  via a driver’s license scan. A small camera installed in the kiosk also takes a photograph of the visitor, which is then printed onto a temporary visitors badge that is to be worn at all times on school grounds.

“The LobbyGuard kiosk allows Oxford public schools to more accurately ensure that an individual coming into any school is not a registered sex offender and will serve as a visual deterrent against crime,” Graeber said. “When a person’s background information is checked based on their state issued or valid ID, the visitor management system (LobbyGuard) runs their information specifically against the state and national sex offenders registries. If a person is ‘flagged’ as such, then the system will notify appropriate school and district personnel if a match is made. … While it is an added step upon entering a school, the overall impact it will make in protecting our students and our campuses is the very reason it is in place.”

The Oxford School District  said the new kiosks will assist the staff in other ways as well, such as being a visual deterrent against crime, tracking volunteer time and attendance, and helping the front desk staff manage traffic more efficiently.

Oxford School District Superintendent Brian Harvey is on board with the idea, and believes that upgraded security measures are needed to keep children safe in today’s times.

“LobbyGuard is one more tool that we have in place to keep our school campuses safe,” Harvey said, adding, “It can alert us as to when a questionable person is entering our schools. Unfortunately in today’s age, we have to take measures such as this to protect what goes on behind our school walls 24-7,” Harvey said in a written press statement.

“We are not immune to something negative happening on our school campuses,” Harvey said. “However, we can rely on a tool such as this to keep our schools safe.”  –– Jared Senseman, senior journalism major, Meek School of Journalism and New Media

Email Jared Senseman at jrsensem@go.olemiss.edu

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