Handling 6 Common School Visitor Issues and Conflicts

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Six Ways to Manage School Visitors and Related Conflicts

It’s important to know precisely who you are welcoming into your schools. You can accomplish this with a school visitor management system that screens a visitor’s information against sex offender registries and customized, locally-owned lists, like those containing individuals with custodial restrictions.  

Best practice is to scan the visitor’s government-issued ID to verify their identity and screen their information against the databases. But what happens when a visitor doesn’t have an ID, refuses to share their personal information with you, or is a confirmed sex offender? When and how do you deny someone access?   

These are just some of the scenarios that school staff must be prepared to address.  

1- Screening Undocumented Persons or Those Without IDs

If the visitor does not have an ID, front desk staff can manually enter the visitor’s information into the system so they can be screened; however, this gives the visitor the chance to falsify their information. Especially when the individual is unknown to school staff, the front desk employee should notify the principal or another administrator so they can determine if the visitor needs to be supervised during their visit.  

2- Handling Visitors who Refuse to Provide Their Information 

This reluctancy is typically based on privacy concerns, anxiety related to undocumented persons, or issues with the visitor being a registered sex offender. The front desk employee should notify the school resource officer (SRO) or principal so they can greet the individual and determine if they receive access and/or require supervision. 

Districts should regularly share information about their visitor management system and policies with the school community to help combat these issues. This communication can include posting signs on your entry doors and sending letters home with students. 

3- Responding to a New Sex Offender or Custom Alert Match

If  your front desk employee confirms that the visitor matches a sex offender or custom alert, the system should automatically notify the appropriate personnel for assistance. While those personnel come to the front office, the front desk employee should inform the visitor that there is an issue with the system, and they cannot complete the process. If the individual refuses to wait, the school should return their ID and allow the individual to leave. Your visitor management system will keep track of their information and alert you, and other appropriate personnel, if they attempt to sign in at another time, even if the next time is at another building in your district. 

4- Determining When and Whether to Allow Known Offenders

You may have instances where a legal guardian/parent is a registered sex offender or has restricted access to their child(ren). In this case, many schools alert the appropriate personnel to escort the guardian/parent during their visit. They also may have limited access to the campus, such as restricted time or destinations.  

A similar process can be followed for contractors or vendors who are confirmed sex offenders; however, it is highly recommended that the school does not allow the vendor or contractor into its buildings. Instead, the school should contact the vendor or contractor’s manager and require them to send another individual.  

5- Screening Visitors When Your School is Used as an Emergency Shelter

If schools are closed due to a natural hazard and being used to provide community shelter, schools should still screen all visitors before giving them access to the building. You can do this by adding a set of hazard-specific questions to your visitor check-in procedures such as projected length of stay or number of family members. Your visitor management system will automatically track every individual who enters the building helping to ensure the safety of all those seeking shelter as well as provide accountability to local officials.

6- Accounting for Visitors Following School Emergency

If your school needs to evacuate on a moment’s notice and you need to account for visitors in your buildings, you must have accurate visitor records. The most powerful systems integrate with an emergency management system that streamlines the accountability process so you can respond to and recover from emergencies faster. This integration enables you to account for every visitor (including contractors, volunteers, vendors, substitutes, guardians, etc.) who is signed into the visitor management system.  

Confidently Respond to These Issues

Every school needs a visitor management policy that describes what their procedure will be for anyone entering the buildings. Coupled with a powerful visitor management system, this policy is your first line of defense against unwanted entrants or visitor accountability.  

Contact us today to see how Raptor Visitor Management works and how our experts can help you build and maintain a safe school.   

Related Resources

Guide to K-12 Visitor Management
Best Practices for Year-Round Safety

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