Raptor system implemented to bolster school safety
Visitors at all Woodstock Community Unit School District 200 have been required to check in at all school’s front desks for several years, but an added layer of security has been implemented this school year via Raptor Technologies.
All visitors who wish to enter one of 12 District school buildings are required to provide a state identification card such as a driver’s license that is screened by the Raptor Visitor Management system which checks state and national databases for known sex offenders and custody alerts.
If no alerts arise from the scan, the visitor is issued a photo ID sticker they will be asked to wear inside the building. The ID sticker can be printed by school front office personnel immediately following the scan.
“With the addition of a second police officer added to staff each high school, we believe the Raptor system is just one more way to ensure a safe learning environment for our students and staff,” Superintendent Mike Moan said.
The Raptor system is used at more than 20,000 schools across the nation including in several area schools. The District purchased the equipment, which includes the scanners and printers, in April for a total cost of $20,700. There is also an annual $6,480 cost to maintain the system.
Ryan Hart, principal of Westwood Elementary School, said visitors will only be scanned if they plan on entering the school building past the main office. All visitors will be screened through Raptor whether they are volunteering for Love to Read Week, participating as Art Discovery instructors or volunteering in classrooms or the library.
“Anybody who’s entering our hallways for any reason,” Hart said.
Hart said visitors only need to have their ID scanned the first time they visit. The system will save their information so that the next time they visit they can provide their name and their photo and information will be available on the front desk computer screen. Regardless of when the ID was scanned, any information that might cause alerts will be current.
“It updates each night and syncs with the government websites,” Hart said.
While visitors are highly encouraged to bring a valid ID, the system does have the capability of taking a photo of the visitor and running a check based on a name and date of birth.
School officials ask for patience from visitors and the understanding that safety is the number one goal. Hart said parents have been pleased to hear that the Raptor system is in place rather than complaining about the process.
“We’ve really gotten nothing but positive reaction from parents,” Hart said.