Regional Special Needs School in Windsor, CT Makes Security and Student Welfare a Priority One Badge at a Time

The safety of students and educators in our schools remains the highest priority and biggest concern of today’s school officials.  This message has been driven home repeatedly by tragedies such as the Columbine school massacre in the 90s and the host of other copycat tragedies that have followed, including the senseless murder of Amish children in October 2006.  In the close-knit Amish community, the word security was probably never in anyone’s vocabulary. 


        These tragedies aside, the growing challenge in so many school districts nationwide and internationally are budget cuts that will continue to force school administrators to choose between keeping academic programs versus creating stronger security.   River Street School in Windsor, Conn. is one of those schools.  But its administrators didn’t wait until security became a major issue or a threatening situation. School officials did something about it. 

River Street School, which is part of Capitol Region Education Council (CREC), and its programs serve more than two hundred students aged 3 - 21 with a variety of behavioral, communicative, and neurological disorders.  

These students receive services in a variety of locations including the River Street School campus in Windsor, CT; in satellite classrooms under the direction of an Integrated Program Model; in public school classrooms; at our Coltsville programs, and in the students' homes.  The safety and security of these students is critical. 

Since 1966, the Capitol Region Education Council, working with and for its member districts, has developed a wide array of cost-effective and high-quality programs and services to meet the educational needs of children and adults in the Capitol Region of Conn. 

A River Street educator had seen a simple, easy-to-use and portable security badge registry log at another school in the area and asked for more information.  The company, who manufactured the Visitor Pass Registry Book, was Data Management of Farmington, Conn.

Deirdre Reidy, facilities manager, was on the selection committee.  “We chose the visitor pass because we felt it was going to be one of the easiest systems to use,” said Reidy.  “The company was really easy to work with in terms of producing the badge that we wanted for our building. 

 “I really had no idea what we wanted.  They let us draw up a couple of examples.  They helped, they critiqued.  They really helped us design a product that would work for us, and our log registry was really customized for our program.” 

According to River Street school social worker, Anne Cuvellier, “We really don’t have to talk much about safety & security, because in recent year’s school security has come so much to the forefront of administrator and parent concerns.

“With the Visitor Pass Registry Book, we don’t need to have a separate badge, sign-in sheet, and sign-out sheet,” Cuvellier said. “It’s an all-in-one package — which works.  Various staff members at River Street School said that the Visitor Pass product is very easy to use. 

“A visitor arrives and just signs in.  It’s not threatening at all.  After signing, the visitor simply peels off the tag and sticks it on a lapel or on a dress, which makes the badges very user-friendly.”

The Visitor Pass registry is particularly valuable in an emergency because the school secretary can just take the whole logbook outside, according to River Street staff.  When the principal is doing his checks, he knows that any visitor who came into the building should now also be outside of the building.  School personnel can be in radio contact and know that everyone made it out of the building, even those people that might have been in a conference room.  And with the log, school visitors can be checked against visitor lists. 

“We use Visitor Pass to identify visitors coming into the building and we can ensure that they’ve stopped at the front desk, they’ve checked in, they belong here and that we know that they’re supposed to be here,” said Anne Cuvellier.  “I think the most important part is seeing that visual aid.  There’s a lot of staff in the building.  And there are a lot of people coming into the building.  We can’t afford not to know.  I have a more secure feeling.”

Cuvellier said that seeing the badge eliminates that awkward question, “Do I approach the person and ask why he or she is here? The staff knows at a glance that the person has already checked in at the office and is okay to be in the building.

“Keeping track of visitors entering the building is especially important because there are so many people coming in and out,” said social worker, Cuvellier.  “We have students from about 30 towns around the area, which means potentially we could have visitors from each one of those towns wanting to come in, and it would be impossible otherwise to know who’s here, when they came, who they saw when they were here. 

“To have that log here really at our fingertips verifies that a person was in on a particular date,” Cuvellier added.  “it’s just very key for us.  Often we have to go back to our Visitor Pass registry to check who the person was, when the person came into the building, when a particular meeting was held, which person the visitor saw or when a parent came to visit a classroom.”

Reidy said that every school is looking at its costs and can spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on security systems.   “But you have to weigh, ‘is that going to be worth it for us?’  The Visitor Pass log really costs just  pennies for what we’re getting from the product, and with being so easy to use and to re-order books, it’s definitely worth the cost.”

Data Management CEO, Dan Hincks said,  “Visitor Pass is self duplicating.  When visitors sign in, they fill out their I.D. badge, which is a label. This action automatically transfers the visitor’s information onto a duplicate record sheet underneath.” For confidentiality, the label liner is opaque, preventing subsequent visitors from seeing who signed in before them. They can’t lift the liner to peek, either, because the outer edge is sealed, Hincks added.

Each registry book contains 400 to 500 badges, depending on the format. Most are ordered custom-printed with an organization’s logo and shipped within two business days. Also part of the company’s “Visitor Pass Solutions” product line is books and computer printer rolls with special “expiring” badges that change color overnight to prevent reuse, Hincks added.  

School Secretary, Gladys Vargas pointed out that security is important for students because “This is a changing world for schools and students,” she said. “It’s important to keep children safe.  You need to know who’s here, because you don’t want a child to be missing. The school is responsible for that child.”

River Street School trained its entire staff about how to use the registry book and peel off badges.   The staff won’t hesitate to stop somebody they don’t know without a sticker and direct them back to the office to get a sticker.  That sticker serves as a visual identification for the employees to know whom a person is within the building, according to Reidy. 

“Anyone who is visiting is supposed to display the sticker in a highly visible area,” Reidy pointed out.  “But some people put the badge on their purse or in a place that’s not so obvious.  Our staff has been trained to stop an individual the building whom they’re unfamiliar with and ask, ‘May I ask who you are here to see?’

 “They’ll suggest that the person needs a badge and the person should actually show the visitor pass. If the person does not have the badge prominently displayed, the staff member will redirect the person back to the office to get a Visitor Pass.”

As a society, we have gradually started to recognize that children are more in harm’s way than ever before and that schools, once considered the safest havens for children, are as vulnerable as other public places.   But River Street School in Windsor, Conn. is making its students feel more comfortable by bringing in economical forms of security like the Visitor Pass Registry Book.    

“I think the visitor pass has definitely given everybody here a greater sense of security,” said Reidy.  “And parents want to know that their kids are being protected and that they’re safe, because we’re checking everyone who comes into the building.  You hear all sorts of stories, so I think it’s important to know that we have a system in place.”

While there is no complete solution as yet to breaches of security in our educational buildings, River Street Schools’ adoption of Visitor Pass by Data Management was a major step forward in addressing the problem. 



The Visitor Pass Registry Book, a manual security tool used by thousands of schools, hospitals, businesses, and government agencies worldwide and developed by Data Management Inc. of Farmington, Conn., creates both a temporary visitor badge and a permanent, confidential visitor log all in one step. Celebrating its 50th year, Data Management, Inc is a privately owned manufacturer of specialized printed products. Founded in 1961, its variety of innovative solutions helps users save time and money while keeping better records, and protecting their employees and guests. For additional information, visit or contact Kim Isabelle, Sales Manager, at 800-243-1969, ext. 302, or at