visitor management background check

What Should a Visitor Management System for Schools Do?

How to define what a good visitor management system for schools should do is much like defining what a good volunteer background check should be.  For fifteen years, I have owned Safe Hiring Solutions and we conduct hundreds of thousands of background checks annually.

And for 15 years I have heard from volunteer organizations that we are conducting a “national background check.”  Please define that, I always say. Invariably, the answer will be all over the board from a cheap, instant database search (that is not a background check- there is no such thing as an instant, single source background check) to comprehensive multi-level searches that include multiple checks and balances.

A visitor management system for schools is no different.  There are many visitor management systems on the market today.  And I guess the most important question is what do you want it to do for your schools?

There are really two distinct camps that schools fall into when deciding on a visitor management system:

  • Convenience; or

  • Security

That seems odd but over and over we see schools evaluating SafeVisitor include front office personnel.  Almost always there is an immediate fear of how the visitor system will complicate their already busy job.

That is why we have seen an uptick in the number of visitor management software systems that built for speed but have nothing in the process to ensure the visitor is who they say they are and safe.

Security is inconvenient.  And successful schools are focused on security.

However, a visitor management system for schools can be both a great security system and provide efficiencies and convenience for schools.

What should you be looking for?

  • Who are the leaders of the company?  There are so many security vendors popping up these days that it serves your well to do your due diligence.   That is the former detective in me coming out. As well as the CEO of one of the fastest growing background screening companies in the U.S.  Do you entrust the security of your school to a company of software developers or former security professionals?

  • Cloud-based.  Cloud-based systems are the norm these days.  But it is not about being the “new” thing that makes this important for a visitor management system.  The cloud allows you to connect campuses, share information including high frequency visitors like volunteers AND excluded parties that are not allowed on the campus.  Plus, the cloud allows for software updates that require no labor on your part.

  • Integrated partners.  Many visitor management systems for schools are trying to do all things security.  Vision and long term thinking and development are critical. However, a great VMS will know there lane and stay in it and find the best of the best security partners to integrate with.

  • Limit exposing PII of visitors.  A comprehensive VMS will not require the use of your government ID every time you enter a building as a frequent visitor and expose your personal information to security or front office employees.  ID validation should be a core feature of the onboarding process which allows for the use of a VMS ID or biometrics.

  • Push visitors further from the front door.  A company led by security experts understands that security does not start at the front desk.  The best visitor management systems will have this as a core foundation and use a myriad of solutions from geofencing, kiosks, access control integrations and pre-registration.

  • Background checks.  Every visitor management system purports to do some level of background check.  Most are doing a low level sex offender search. Some are doing a cheap national database search.  Background checks are more complex than a cheap database. There are compliance issues. And you need to understand that in many states a sex offender is not required to register for life.  Some levels of sex offenders are not required to register at all. And the cheap database searches are not a background screening program. Many states limit the data they provide.

These are just a few of the musts when selecting a visitor management system for schools.

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Is the Visitor Management System Sex Offender Data Up To Date?


SafeVisitor Solutions frequently receives questions concerning how often updates are made to their sex offender information. When a visitor comes into a building that is protected by SafeVisitor, the office will scan their license or ID. This information will be run against the registry which has access to the most current information regarding sex offenders.

Having current information about sex offenders is critical to the safety of children. SafeVisitor uses a third-party database. This search accesses multiple data sources so that the information is being continuously updated. Each source is updated in every state multiple times a day. This way nothing is missed.  The benefits of getting the data from multiple sources is that the sources can be checked against one another. Data comes from all over the country and not from just one location. In this way, information is continuously updated as it is received.

This continuous method of collecting the latest data lessens the possibility that someone might slip through the cracks. This system not only makes the school significantly safer for children, but it also makes the jobs of the administration easier. Administrators can depend upon this reliable and current system to vet every visitor against the latest sex registry information.

With a constantly updated registry, the school is a much safer place. SafeVisitor Solutions takes great pride in the reliability of their system of keeping the most up-to-date sex offender information that is currently available.

Do not assume your data is being updated.  We recently replaced another visitor management system with a large school district that had no idea their sex offender data was stored on a local database that had not been updated in 3 years.  That could have (and might have) lead to sex offenders being allowed access to children. 


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How Do We Comply With Indiana HEA 1079?


This July, Indiana issued a new law pertaining to schools and background checks known as the House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1079. Knowing and understanding the requirements of HEA 1079 will increase your appreciation for how Safe Hiring Solutions can help schools comply with the law. SHS has developed a  process that will allow Indiana school administrators and HR managers to save time and money while meeting HEA requirements.

What is HEA 1079?

As mentioned above, HEA 1079 mandates that every school in the state of IN have an updated Expanded Criminal History background check on file for every employee. This includes lunch workers, janitors, substitutes, teachers, and anyone else on the school’s payroll.

The bill pertains to public and private schools alike. In addition, every five years the Expanded Criminal History check must be updated for every employee. New hires must receive an Expanded Criminal History check prior to starting, and then they must be incorporated into the five-year cycle for updated checks.

How We Ensure Compliance

This law can be unnerving especially for larger schools with many employees. The pressure to update and expand checks on existing employees while running checks on prospective hires can especially be felt in large mega-corporations. Safe Hiring Solutions has created a simple solution that not only guarantees compliance with the bill, but will help to alleviate much of the work involved in managing re-checks. The solution is SafeVisitor - our visitor management software. SHS can utilize SafeVisitor to handle the HEA 1079 bill in three easy steps.

SafeVisitor will:

  1. load every employee into the system.

  2. perform an Expanded Criminal History check on each individual employee.

  3. set a date to automatically email and remind the employee in 60 months to perform a re-check.

The system can also manage payments for the background check thereby taking much of the record keeping off the shoulders of office administrators. Let SafeVisitor and Safe Hiring Solutions completely automate required background checks while also ensuring compliance with HEA 1079.

To learn more about how we can set you and your school up to handle HEA 1079, be sure to view our webinars:

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