Silver Chips Online

Blair implements new visitor ID policy

To enter the school building, non-students must show ID

By Martha Morganstein, Online News Editor and Rohan Oprisko, Sports Editor
February 3, 2014
In accordance with a new safety policy, parents and all other visitors to Montgomery Blair High School will be required to show identification upon entrance in the school building. This measure, which began Jan. 13, is intended to provide more security to the Blair community.

The new visitor ID policy will be based at the Colesville entrance. Samuel Pinczuk
The new visitor ID policy will be based at the Colesville entrance.
Under the former visitor policy, visitors wrote their names on a form in the main office and received a visitors' sticker, but the visitor would not have to show identification In the new system, only Blair staff members can sign visitors in.

Visitors must present their identification card to a security guard at the Colesville Rd. entrance to the building. According to Blair secretary Eileen Heiss, only photo IDs are accepted as valid identification. "They'll accept cards like passports, driver's licenses, a school issued ID or a government-issued ID," Heiss said.

Although parents and other adults will have to show a form of identification, Blair students will not have to show identification. For cases concerning half-day schedule students, the new system will not impact their normal routines. "Half day students will not have to present identification, because at Blair we can identify our students," Blair security guard Maureen Walsh said.

With the new system, visitors will have to swipe their ID through a machine. The computer program will then confirm that the visitor is not a threat. According to Kathleen Greene, head of Blair security, the machine will alert security of any registered sex offenders in the national database.

The new system was created to combat previous problems with the old system, including fraud. "Visitors could have been lying about their identity and people probably snuck by," Heiss said. However, Heiss explained that those flaws were not the primary reason for the switch. "School safety is the main concern and the big reason for the change," Heiss said.

Although this may seem like a new measure for Blair, Blair is one of the last schools in the county to adopt this new security system. "The system has been implemented into other schools," Walsh said.

This is only the first step in the attempt to make Blair a safer environment. Starting in March, Blair teachers will be required to show their school-issued identification card in order to enter the building, which will also allow access to the building during school hours without having to walk around to other entrances. "It will give staff members access from the staff parking lot during the school day and still keep the door secure," school Business Manager Jim Funk said.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/12355