August 26, 2015

Lobby Guard System Not Foolproof

8-26-15 North Dakota:

Day two of a new school year in West Fargo, and for a new security system in West Fargo Schools and already there are problems. It’s called ‘Lobby Guard’, an electronic system promising an extra layer of security for West Fargo Public Schools.

School visitors must be buzzed into the building, report to the office, answer why they are there and who they are there to see, get a picture taken, scan their government issued ID and then wait as it runs a background check.

"That national sex offender registry. And again that's because that's in Century Code that sex offenders are not allowed on school property,” explained School Safety and Security Coordinator Heather Konschak.

She said it also quizzes a database containing information such as court documents outlining custody disputes between parents. But the system is not foolproof.

"Yesterday we had a situation where one of the visitors to the school scanned his driver's license and the system flagged him as an offender,” Konschak explained.

The person flagged was one of our own News Photographers who showed up to shoot video of an event. The system, however, thought he was a sex offender from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

"Once ‘Lobby Guard’ flags someone as an offender we need to go into the back end of the system,” Konschak said.

When someone gets flagged as an offender, an email is sent out to a school administrator and/or School Resource Officer with an onscreen comparison of the offender’s information from the database and the information from the person in the lobby. If they don’t match, a human must tell the system they don’t match and then rerun their information.

"The system is brand new to us. We're still in the training phases. It was an unfortunate miss on our part,” said Konschak.

It’s something she said should not happen again.

West Fargo School officials apologized to the Valley News Live employee incorrectly flagged by the system. A district spokesperson said there were two more false positives Wednesday with the system, saying a few within the first days of using ‘Lobby Guard’ is to be expected. ,,Source.. by Bradford Arick

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