KC school to run background checks on school visitors

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NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Running a background check on every school visitor – that's the goal of a new security measure North Kansas City public schools plan this fall.

District leaders are reviewing several web-based systems that could be installed as soon as next month.

"School security is evolving," said Dan Clemens, assistant superintendent. "We always want to make sure we're at the forefront."

The measure would require an electronic screening process for every parent, visitor and volunteer who comes to a district school.

"Our office staff will scan the photo ID and it will run a quick background check," Clemens explained. "We'll check the sex offender database as well as our exclusionary list of people that are no allowed in our buildings."

Depending on which company the district chooses, the software could also scan for custody disputes, restraining orders and trespassing orders.

"If we find that a parent would have a criminal record, we'll have to handle them on an individual basis," Clemens said.

It's an extra layer of security not all parents agree is necessary.

"I just don't think the schools at this point have that right," said Steven Darby, a father whose child starts preschool in the district on Wednesday. "I don't believe that because my child is attending school, that someone needs to know every detail of my background."

However, mothers like Missi Weinzerl believe it's the right move.

"Anybody could come in and write down that they're somebody else," she said. "But when you're IDing them and right there you have it in the database exactly who they are, I think that would be a fantastic peace of mind."

The visitor scan system will cost $150,000, which will come out of $20 million voters already approved as a school improvement bond back in April.

The school board is expected to approve the measure in a few weeks and installation could happen as soon as next month.

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