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— Keeping children safe, especially from sexual predators, is the primary goal of Hall Pass - a security program being considered by Pea Ridge School District. If approved, Pea Ridge would be one of the first districts in the state to use the program.

Visitors to school campuses are required to check in at the school office. With the current system, those visitors sign in and are issued a bright yellow name tag with the date they are visiting.

If Hall Pass is approved, visitors will present their drivers' license to the school employee who will scan the license and check the national sex offender registry. If the person is not a registered sex offender, he or she is given a printed name badge allowing them access to the school facilities. If there is anything suspicious about the person, the school employee may check their background further.

If the visitor's name is on the sex offender registry, the level of the offense determines the next step. Some visitors may visit if escorted, others are prohibited from being on a school campus at all and law enforcement must be notified.

Hall Pass is a program developed by CompuData Solutions. It was presented to the School Board at the August meeting Monday, Aug. 10, by Jason Van Dyke, regional vice president of R&D Sales Outsourcing LLC, which represents and markets Hall Pass nationally.

No action was taken on the proposal, which will cost $1,500 per station (school). The cost is for all necessary equipment the software, printer, scanner, etc. An RFID which will read a key fob is an additional $200. There is also a $40 monthly fee.

For frequent visitors, a key fob is recommended. It avoids the step of pulling the driver's license out of the wallet as all driver's license information is contained on the key fob.

The key fob does not byste

b

the background check as it is scanned every visit and if there is an offense that occurs after the key fob is purchased, it will still appear during the investigation.

The process is not especially time consuming, Van Dyke said, usually taking less than a minute, including the amount of time it takes to pull the identification from the person's wallet.

"Although it may be an in convenience to pull out their identification, it's worth it to keep our children safe," Van Dyke said, likening the process to the security measures now taken at airports.

An additional benefit to the program is that the hours a visitor spends at the school are logged, thereby tallying volunteer hours spent at the school.

Hall Pass was installed at Mt. St. Mary's, a private school in Little Rock. "It is brand spanking new," Van Dyke said, adding that the system was presented to all school superintendents in the northwest Arkansas area at the Northwest Arkansas Educational Services Cooperative meeting recently.

"Pea Ridge is one of the first," Van Dyke said, if they approve the program. There are test sites in Texas, but Arkansas is the primary focus at this time.

News, Pages 1, 9 on 08/19/2009

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