Machine scans school visitors for sex offenses

DETROIT, MICH. (NBC) - A Michigan school is testing a unique new system designed to keep sex offenders away from students.

"It's our best friend," says Windemere Park Charter Academy principal Joe Thienes. It's called "Lobby Guard."

Thienes says it's the school's best line of defense against registered sex offenders who want to get into the school.

"We ask all our visitors to the building to scan in before coming in, to ensure we have a safe learning environment," Thienes says.

Here's how it works: you essentially let the machine scan your face and take a picture. Then you scan your driver's license, check if your information is right, and then you get a pass. If you have a sex offender record, the pass would say VOID and you're banned from entering the main school.

"We're immediately notified by e-mail. It goes right to the desktop. Then we'll confront that person," Thienes says.

Lobby Guard electronically taps into the same sex offender database the state police do. It hasn't caught any yet at Windemere. Of course, there have been people who think it's a little too "Big Brother" for them.

Windemere Park has had the tool for two years.

LobbyGuard's website says the company handles 10,000+ visitor sign-ins each day at schools and other facilities nationwide.

A list was not available to determine if any schools in Alabama use the device.