District implements new visitor screening system

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By Soumya Krishna and Faith Zantua, Staff Reporters On Nov. 7, TESD implemented the Raptor Technologies’ Visitor Management System, a software that monitors visitors who enter school buildings. The district implemented the new system to make the acceptance and production of visitor badges more efficient and to ensure that no one in the school buildings...

By Soumya Krishna and Faith Zantua, Staff Reporters

On Nov. 7, TESD implemented the Raptor Technologies’ Visitor Management System, a software that monitors visitors who enter school buildings. The district implemented the new system to make the acceptance and production of visitor badges more efficient and to ensure that no one in the school buildings poses a safety threat.

The Raptor System requires all visitors and volunteers entering a school building to present a valid, state-issued ID, which school staff will scan across a national sex offender database. If the visitor does not have a match on the database, the system will print out a temporary badge for them to wear. The badge will state their name, the visit’s date and its purpose.

If the visitor is matched with the sex offender database, they will be denied entry unless they are attending a parent-teacher meeting. In this circumstance, they will attend the meeting virtually or staff members will escort them for as long as they are in the building.

“We want to make sure folks feel safe, that they know that people in the building are supposed to be in the building,” said TESD Director of Safety Dr. Chris Groppe. “And if you don’t have one of those things (either a feeling of safety or knowledge of who is allowed in the school building), then we want to know why.”

The system’s approximate cost for the whole-district implementation was $18,688. The added cost to the district brought forth questions about whether it was worth implementing. Twelfth grade assistant principal Dr. Patrick Boyle oversees security at Conestoga and believes that the new system will prove to be of assistance.

“I’ve actually visited other schools where they have it in place,” Boyle said. “And I’ve seen how it works and how much quicker it is to get access to the building rather than waiting for (staff) to hand-write a pass.”

The system is an improvement to the previous process of accepting school visitors by having them write down their names when signing in and out. It allows the individual schools’ administrations to accurately keep track of who is in a given building throughout the school day in an easier fashion.

Students and staff can also identify the visitors within the building as they will have stickers issued for their visit. Because of these reasons, some school security appreciate the system.

“I like (the new visitor system). I’m comfortable with it,” said security member Gennale McKissick. “And for the most part, we haven’t had any negative feedback about it.”

As of now, the Visitor Management System will be in place at all district schools for three years. This time frame is subject to change based on its effectiveness.

“When we usually have a new system like this,” Boyle said, “we evaluate it as it goes on to see the effectiveness of it and the viability of it as well.”

 


Soumy Krishna can be reached at [email protected]

Faith Zantua can be reached at [email protected]

 

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