Safe School Visitor Policies
|Table of Contents|
|Code of Conduct|
|What is FERPA?|
The safety of children should be the most important element of your school. To ensure a safe learning space, your facility should implement in-depth yet easy-to-follow visitor policies.
Enforcing your policies ensures a safe learning space for your students.
Each school or district will have different rules for visitors. However, there are some similarities that any school can put in place.
We’ve previously addressed designing name tags for school security and the benefits, detriments, and ethics behind tracking students with RFIDs. Please read these articles for additional information on improving your school’s security.
Code of Conduct for Visitors in School
Generally, your facility will have a code of conduct for visitors. These rules for school visitors should match your current safety policies. You should have basic policies that are easy to understand. Ensuring your code of conduct is straight forward and available means visitors can follow them without incident.
Some of these policies may include:
- A member of school staff will accompany any visitor while they are on-campus (if available)
- Visitors may not interrupt classes in session or coordinate with a teacher ahead of time to observe
- Visitors may only enter and exit your facility through the main entry
- Visitors must always wear a pass while on-campus
- Visitors must check-in or register their attendance with front office administration
- Visitors will be subject to security screening (if available)
- Visitors must present a valid form of identification
- Visitors will not take part in nor encourage any illegal activities
School Visitor Check-In
We recommend requiring visitors to register with your front office. This allows your administrative staff to track who is on-property and for what length of time. Registration should be standard for any educational institution to ensure a safe facility.
Information collected at check-in may include:
- First and last name
- Any classroom they are visiting
- Date of visit
- Check-in/out time
After signing-in with your facility’s front desk, you should provide a school visitor pass. Instruct guests to wear their pass at all times while on-campus. Visitor passes allow other members of staff to identify allowed guests. Administrative staff should then ensure that all passes are returned at the end of a guest’s visitation.
Parents may want to sit-in and observe an in-session class. Coordinate parents with associated teachers ahead of the parents’ visit to prevent disruption. Entering a class unannounced or without warning causes unwanted and unnecessary distractions. You should establish rules discouraging interaction from visitors. Unwanted interruptions disrupt regular class proceedings and hamper the class’s lessons.
Public Events & Organization Meetings
If your facility hosts public events, you will most likely not want to register every attendee. These could include parent-teacher organization meetings or open-house events. Requiring sign-in for every parent or visitor unnecessarily slows down processes.
Distributing numbered tickets, disposable wristbands unique to your school, or using skin-safe hand stamps are better alternatives if you feel you need the extra screening. Since many school events since COVID-19, including graduation ceremonies, are held in smaller groups or not at all, you can also improve morale with customized items like name tags, grad signs, ribbons and more!
If your school has the budget set aside, reusable name tags may be used. However, you will need to prepare for some of your badges to either be returned damaged or not returned at all.
Security staff should still enforce regular school safety procedures during public events.
If someone ignores your code of conduct, you will need procedures to enforce your policies. Most schools encourage staff to report unauthorized individuals to the principal or other designated administrative staff.
If your school keeps security staff on-campus, you could instead direct concerns to them.
In the event that an unauthorized visitor refuses to follow your policies, you may need to contact local law enforcement.
Reasons for School Visitors
Your staff should understand why specific guests visit your facility. Parents may want to observe their child’s class or classes. Donors could want a tour to ease any hesitations in contributing to your facility.
Understanding the reasons visitors have helps you in showing the best and most relevant side of your school.
What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act allows parents to access educational information. It also allows some rights to disseminate personal information at their discretion. But, once a child turns 18, the rights transfer over to them from their parents. Find more information on FERPA at studentprivacy.ed.gov.