(TNS) — Some adults working on the pool deck at the City Swim Meet this past Friday-Sunday may have seen it as an inconvenience, but the increased security measures they encountered now are the norm for visitors entering Fort Wayne Community Schools buildings.
The school district's SafeVisitor system has been deployed in all schools and in buildings such as Helen P. Brown Natatorium — site of the city swim meet — Grile Administrative Center, the new Family and Community Engagement Center, and the Transportation Center.
While using the SafeVisitor system slows down the process of entering FWCS buildings, the school district believes the security measure is important for protecting students, said Krista Stockman, FWCS public information officer.
Because the natatorium is an FWCS facility, the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department, which organized the City Swim Meet, abided by the school district's security measures, said Natalie Eggeman, parks department public information officer.
For the city swim meet, adults working on the pool deck had to go through the SafeVisitor screening process because they would have access to locker rooms where youngsters could be, Stockman said.
Just as visitors now must do when entering an FWCS school, adults planning to be on the pool deck during the swim meet, including FWCS employees, had to present a government-issued photo identification, such as a driver's license, for scanning. They had to be photographed, and their information then was checked almost instantaneously against the national sexual offender registry and the list of people to whom FWCS previously has issued a no-admittance order.
Adults working on the pool deck then received a wristband containing their name and their reason for being on the pool deck, which they were required to wear throughout their time at the city swim meet. Spectators didn't need to go through the same security checks, Stockman said.
The wristbands were created just for the swim meet, said Dottie Davis, FWCS director of security.
Normally, people visiting FWCS schools or other buildings will receive a name tag containing their photo, name and why they are there. They must wear the name tag while in the building and return it when leaving to verify and record their departure.
If the person has been in the building longer than six hours, a red stop sign on the name tag will bleed through the sticker covering it, indicating the person must either leave the building or check in again with the school office or building security desk, said Bennie Edwards, security greeter at Grile Administrative Center.
In addition to the SafeVisitor system, FWCS also has added other security upgrades at schools as part of its School Renovation and Repair projects. That work includes secure vestibules, which force a visitor wait to be admitted through two sets of locked doors before being funneled into the school's office. The district also is installing security locksets on classroom doors, which allow the door to be locked from the inside.
©2016 The News-Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Ind.), distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.