Parkway implements new check-in protocol in effort to keep students safe


Lydia Roseman

A visitor rings the doorbell as the sign above her tells her what she should expect during the check-in process. Visitors require an identification card and a purpose for the visit in order to be able to check in. “It is a hassle, it’s not as easy to enter the building, but what we have found is that most people are aware of the world that we live in and are willing to spend the extra time,” Mitchell said.

While waiting for the vote for Prop S on the November ballot, administration has incorporated new security measures that run background checks on every visitor that enters the building.

“It used to be that you just signed in and we knew your name, but we didn’t know who you were or if you were a sex offender,” Principal Jeremy Mitchell said. “With the new system, the visitor shows his ID and his name is put in the system and the system alerts us if there’s a reason why he shouldn’t be on our campus. If the system brings the person up as a sex offender, it automatically sends a text to the SRO and to all the principals so that we know right away. Then the front office person asks the visitor to wait and then administration would come and let them know that they’re not welcome in our school.”

The check-in protocol only applies to visitors entering the building, so parents do not have to worry about the hassle of signing in if they stop by for a simple drop off.

“Now when someone rings the bell at the door, if it’s not a student that we recognize we ask them ‘How can we help you?’” testing coordinator Stephanie Hornsby said. “A lot of times it’s parents coming to drop off a lunch or a forgotten notebook, so we let them, they drop it off, and we don’t make them go through the new security exercise if they’re just doing a drop-off. If a visitor is going anywhere in the building past the front office, they have to go through this exercise.”

Though the new system takes longer than simply signing in, parents and visitors understand the necessity to update security.

“For the most part, parents are very concerned about security in our schools so they see this as a good step in helping to secure the building,” Hornsby said. “Parents get it, they get that we need to take every precaution that we can to make sure that people are here for the right reasons.”

Security updates are not stopping with new visitor check-in. Under the passage of Prop S, Parkway has plans for further security measures to keep students safe.

“If [Prop S] were to pass, then what the district would do would be to build what is called a vestibule under the overhang at the front door which will be enclosed,” Mitchell said “Visitors will come in to the newly created main entrance which puts the main office right out front so that visitor will not be able to get inside the school. The vestibule will help because it will physically prevent people from getting into the school. It’s just supposed to make people feel more comfortable and safe.”

Though security measures are being improved, administrators know that there is only so much they can do to ensure safety.

“With the reality of 1440 students coming in every day, it doesn’t make sense to do a student check-in system,” Mitchell said. “Some schools have metal detectors, some people want to arm teachers, and those are options that we could do, but we feel like our updated system is what fits our community. It’s an interesting system and I think it’s the natural progression of security. Anything that we can do to help keep the school safe, I’m all for it.”