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S.C. District Adopts A New Approach to Visitor Management

Infrastructure upgrades and improved training have made Rock Hill Schools a more secure district.

The security upgrades undergone at Rock Hill Schools (S.C.) have been impressive and are a big reason why Rock Hill Director of Risk, Safety and Management Kevin Wren has been named our K-12 Director of the Year.

One of the biggest transformations under Wren has been in the district’s process for screening visitors.

Wren has overseen structural upgrades to the front entrances of 15 schools and the installation of 29 computerized visitor management systems. Additionally, more than 400 networked locks have been installed as part of a proximity card and ID badge system for faculty and staff members.

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Now visitors are guided through the building’s main office when they enter schools, and teachers have been trained to look for visitor badges on adults in the hallways. Every person with a badge has been screened through sex offender registries.

“Teachers are very optimistic people, they see the good in everybody, whereas cops can become the opposite way,” Wren says. “So being able to sit down with teachers and explain some things, it makes them realize a stranger without a badge could be in the building for nefarious purposes.”

Wren has also developed policies to make sure teachers keep their doors shut and locked while teaching classes so that they’re viewed as a first line of defense in school buildings.

The chief of the Rock Hill Police Department discovered the new system, to his delight, the first time he walked into a school after Wren’s training. The chief remembers being impressed when a secretary stopped him at the entrance and asked for his driver’s license. The secretary explained that she knew who he was, but that she doesn’t make exceptions.

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About the Author

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Zach Winn is a journalist living in the Boston area. He was previously a reporter for Wicked Local and graduated from Keene State College in 2014, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism and minoring in political science.

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