County schools remind families, community that visitors may be asked to show photo ID

by Kate Evans

Morgan County Schools will be enforcing their long-standing policy of requiring all visitors to show photo identification upon entering school buildings as of Tuesday, January 3.

The county school sent out messages to families over the holiday and posted the following message on their social media page: “We hope that everyone is enjoying their Winter Break. As a reminder, school will be back in session on Tuesday, January 3. At this time, to ensure the safety of our students and staff, all visitors should be prepared to present photo identification upon entering our buildings.”

Morgan County School Board member Laura Smith said that the visitor photo identification policy is not a new policy and that it has been in effect for some years since the “man traps” were put in at county school buildings. The message to families was to remind everyone that the policy was still in place and not a response to any incident, she said.

Smith said that Morgan County Schools had a safety review done in the past few months.  It was found that schools weren’t being diligent in checking visitors’ identification.  There are “lots of instances” in which students can’t leave with a parent or other specified person.

Schools want to make sure if there is someone unusual picking up a student, that they  show a photo ID plus a signature, Smith said.  Several years ago, schools had machines that scanned visitor and volunteer photo IDs when they entered. Those machines are no longer in service.

Smith noted that whenever she goes to schools, she takes her driver’s license and shows it when she enters.  She might just be visiting or could be picking up her grandchildren from school.

When Smith picked up a friend’s sick grandson for them last year, she had to go through the whole photo identification and approval process before she could take the boy home.  She said she was glad to see it.

“It’s a whole different world today,” Smith said.