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Instant background checks now part of Duval County Public Schools new visitor check-in procedures

Everyone must check-in at the front deck and get a badge with their picture on it before entering the school.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — On Wednesday, Duval County Public Schools unveiled their new visitor check-in procedures. This news comes as they are about to welcome back 129,000 students next Monday. 

“Everyone that is [in] the building, whether you are a visitor or even our staff members will be using this system to actually check-in and out of the buildings," Jim Culbert, Chief Information Officer for Duval County Public Schools said."What we’re striving to do is make sure we have one centralized solution that every school has so that it's uniform. And that we have one process that we have when visitors enter the building that they can come and check-in and make sure we’re doing a background check and we’re complying with the Jessica Lunsford Act.”

On June 20, 2007, Governor Charlie Crist signed into law Senate Bill 988, Relating to High Risk Offenders. The bill, effective on July 1, 2007, requires specific notations on the driver's licenses of sexual predators, and established standards and procedures related to the background screening of individuals who provide contracted non-instructional services to Florida public schools or districts.

That act was passed over a decade ago in Florida. It requires background checks for people that do work for a public school. 

This new check-in system lets School Safety Officers or Jacksonville Sheriff's Office deputies do a background check in a matter of seconds. 

A person must be buzzed into the entrance to the school, and that person can be seen at the entrance on a camera. They then go to the front desk and present their Driver's License or ID along with stating the reason why they are there. 

The ID is slid into a reader, and when its pulled out the background check is finished. After a few more clicks, a temporary visitor badge is printed. The badge shows their name, picture and where they are going in the building. 

“Before every single school had maybe a little different program or maybe a different system that was in place to check in a visitor and make sure they were complying with the law," Culbert said. "Now it’s one central solution that identifies everyone in the building that we know that every adult actually belongs in the building and they’ve actually been screened.”

With the picture being printed on the badge, it makes it easy for staff to identify if someone is using a fake ID, someone else’s ID or if they shouldn’t be around children in the first place. 

“It’s just one more piece on top of doing the additional camera systems that we’ve done," Culbert said. "All those little pieces that we’re adding just to make sure we have safe schools.”

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