Visitors to the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School may have noticed a change in the last couple of weeks.

When entering the building during the school day, they’re now asked to present identification, and to wear a name tag with their picture printed on it when walking the halls of the school.

The high school purchased a web-based software program earlier in the school year, and began using it earlier this month to check in visitors at the main entrance.

It replaces an earlier system where visitors would write their names down on a sticker which produced a carbon copy for the school.

But ink didn’t always go through to the other side of the paper, and there was no way of verifying if people were who they said they were, school officials said this week.

“The old system we had was grossly inadequate,” said school resource officer Sgt. Michael Marchand, in an interview with the Gazette.

The identification system is the latest of a series of measures put in place by Sergeant Marchand, an Oak Bluffs police officer who maintains a five-day presence in the school building.

At the beginning of the school year, his first as a resource officer, Mr. Marchand began locking all 32 entrances to the school during the day.

Later, double doors were installed at the main entrance which must be manually unlocked by school staff.

He also numbered the 32 building entrances so if an ambulance is needed at the school, it would be easier to tell them where to go.

“Frankly, we were behind the eight ball,” Mr. Marchand said.

High school principal Gilbert E. Traverso had used the photo identification system at his former high school in Springfield.

Upon entering the school, visitors, including parents, must present identification (driver’s license or passport) to the receptionist.

She scans the card and the information from it, including photo, date of birth and full name, is transferred into the computer.

The system performs a quick background check, running the name through a national sex offender database, and prints a sticker with the visitor’s name, photo and destination (i.e. nurse’s office).

Visitors who do not carry identification — they may be undocumented immigrants or may have just left their driver’s license in the car — pose for a photograph with a new webcam purchased last year.

Staff is still getting used to the new system and still learning about its capabilities. One thing they’ve learned is that when someone has the same name as a known sex offender, the system will ask if the picture of the criminal matches the visitor’s face.

If a registered sex offender were to try to gain entry, Mr. Traverso said he would limit their exposure to children.

“How they travel in the school would be monitored,” he said.

Mr. Traverso said he hopes parents will continue to feel welcome in the school at all times, and added that the card scan is not any more time consuming than the prior system.

“I just want to make sure that if someone comes in and is not who they say they are, we are covered,” the principal said.

One immediate potential downside to the new system involves the large immigrant population in the school; Mr. Traverso said he wants to be sure parents know that the school isn’t using the system to report undocumented immigrants to authorities.

“I need to reach out to them and make sure they understand because I don’t want this to be a deterrent,” Mr. Traverso said.

While he recognizes that the change may be counter to the Island mentality, he said the insularity of the community does not entirely exempt it from the outside world.

“It’s not to say that it’s the federal reserve, but it’s kids and to me, kids are more valuable than anything else,” he said.

Mr. Marchand’s office at the front of the school looks out over the main entrance.

Along the wall that faces his desk, he has tacked up a map of the United States showing school shootings since Dec. 14 2012, the date of the Sandy Hook elementary massacre.

“It could happen here,” he said.

“We are not trying to make this place a fortress,” he added. “That is not what this is about. We’re trying to make it a secure facility for kids.”

Earlier this month, Rachel Orr, a school parent, experienced the new system for the first time when she attended Mr. Traverso’s monthly principal coffee hour.

At first, she found the system to be “a little off-putting.”

She hadn’t received a notice about it from the school and wasn’t thrilled about wearing a picture of herself on a name tag.

While she’s happy to provide identification, as a U.S. native who carries a license, she said she suspects it will discourage some parents from visiting the building.

“I am sure that will be frustrating for people, and I am sure that there will be people who will be so intimidated by it that they will not visit the school,” she said.

Still, she said the high school’s approach is preferable to the Tisbury School, where her daughter is a student, and more intensive security measures are in place.

“I frankly find talking through a metal grate and through a locked door far more off-putting than having Inez [the high school receptionist] say, can I see your driver’s license,” she said.

And while she doesn’t feel the card scanning will keep her son any safer, she said the changes at the high school are well-intentioned and show the degree to which school staff care about their students.

“I think they have tried to still have it be welcoming,” she said.