Could Future Background Checks for Schools Include Instant Visitor Screening?

Preserving the safety of school campuses is an issue that has rocketed to the top of the public consciousness in recent years. From stories about potential bad actors gaining access to children to horrific tragedies such as school shootings, safety and security are major topics today. Many strategies for addressing the issues facing schools today are in active development. One such idea gaining traction in some places across the country is the extension of background checks for schools to cover all on-campus visitors.

In the past, school campuses have been surprisingly open. Parents, volunteers, and other workers often came and went with little oversight beyond perhaps a check-in at the front office. That could soon change. One county school district in North Carolina has turned to technology to make a positive change. More than just using background screening for school employees, Wake County schools will now instantly screen visitors.

North Carolina School District Adopts Visitor Screening

Home to the NC state capital of Raleigh, Wake County took a bold step during the interim period between school terms to set up a new screening tool. Unlike teacher background checks meant to vet those supervising children directly, this system will provide an additional layer of security against possible dangerous visitors. 

All visitors to the school will have to check in at the office, where they will create an account with the school's service provider. It will then use this information to see if the visitor has active protective or restraining orders against them or if their name appears on any abuse or sex offender registries. Administrators will receive automatic alerts on visitors whose record has a red flag, and those individuals will need to leave campus. From parents to volunteers, everyone will go through these checks each time they visit.

Why Are These Tools So Important Today?

Although Wake County is the latest school to implement such a system, they aren't the first. Schools in Florida and other states have deployed similar setups. The reason is simple: keep potential dangers away from kids. Those dangers could come in the form of a volunteer who has a sex offense on their record, or it could be an estranged parent with a protective order lodged against them. These tools let schools quickly identify and decide how to handle these risks.

Technology such as these instant registry checks is having a profound impact on background check processes today. Automation streamlines processes that were once tedious and time-consuming. With this power, creating safer spaces is both possible and a positive change. With the ability to conduct something similar to a criminal background check for schools on visitors, possibly risky situations become avoidable.

Creating safer school environments starts with a proactive attitude, such as the kind in counties recognizing visitor screening. Instant background checks for schools such as those in Wake County indicate such an attitude. As technology and the threat environment evolve, it's crucial to keep asking questions about how we can make public spaces safer.

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Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments

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