ROXBURY, NJ - People visiting Roxbury High School during the day will soon be subjected to increased security as the school adopts a new "visitor management system."
Starting next month, the school will be piloting "LobbyGuard," a system in which visitors will be required to show identification to enter. This check-in process is expected to take fewer than five minutes.
Each visitor will be signed-in digitally and have their picture taken. An ID badge will be printed with their name, picture, reason for visit and the date. Visitors will be required to wear the ID badges on their left chest the entire time they are at the school. When the visitors want to go, their ID badges will be returned and scanned allowing them to leave the building.
During the check-in procedure, the system performs instant background checks with the national sexual offender databases and creates customized lists of known local offenders and unwanted guests.
Roxbury Schools Director of Security Jim Simonetti said this level of scrutiny isn’t new for schools. “Other districts are using similar programs and procedures for checking-in visitors," he said. "No longer are the days of signing in yourself and creating your own visitor ID badge. This is especially important if we’re ever in an emergency situation where we need to make sure everyone is accounted for and safe.”
Also gone are the days of merely locking-down a school during a security incident. Last year, the district adopted the ALICE approach. ALICE stands for "alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate."
Staff was introduced to the ALICE program in October 2016 and, since then, students and staff practice emergency drills each month. The drills include active intruder, fire drills and other simulated emergencies.
In addition to ALICE, the district is installing secure vestibules at its seven schools. The high school, Eisenhower Middle School and Lincoln/Roosevelt School had their vestibules installed last summer.The four lower elementary schools will see their vestibules installed in the coming summer.
Visitors to the high school no longer use the doors by the auditorium and main office to enter the building. They instead are directed to the far right doors closest to the gymnasium. The LobbyGuard program will streamline the visitor sign-in process district-wide once fully implemented.
“We are testing this program at the high school before rolling it out to the other district schools," Simonetti said. "We plan to work out any issues at the high school before pushing it out district-wide around May.”