Darren Doyle, story:
Edmonson County Schools has announced a new method of security that will be used at each school, called the "Raptor Visitor Management System," according to a letter sent to parents and guardians of students from Callie Beliles, Director of Facilities and Safety of EC Schools.
"Part of keeping students and faculty safe is knowing who is in our buildings at all times, and the Raptor system will allow us to do that," Beliles stated in the letter. "The Raptor system will better allow us to screen visitors, contractors, and volunteers in our schools and provide us with a safer environment for our students and staff."
According to the letter, upon entering a district building, visitors will be asked to present an ID such as a driver's license, which can either be scanned or manually entered into the system. If a parent or guardian for any reason does not have a US government-issued ID, the school staff member can use any form of identification and manually enter the person's name into the Raptor system. The Raptor system will check to ensure that registered sexual offenders are not entering school campuses without knowledge.
The Raptor system checks the visitor's name and date of birth for comparison with a national database of registered sex offenders. The registered sex offender database is the only official database checked by the Raptor system. No other data from the ID is gathered or recorded and the information is not shared with any outside agency. Once entry is approved, Raptor will issue a badge that identifies the visitor, the date, and the purpose of his/her visit. A visitor's badge will not be necessary for those who visit our schools simply to drop off an item in the office or pick up paperwork.
"The safety of our students is our highest priority and the Raptor visitor management system allows us to quickly identify those that may present a danger to our students," she continued in the letter. "We will still be requiring that a form of identification be left with the front office staff for safeguarding while the visitor is in the building, and will be returned to the visitor upon signing out. Thank you in advance for your understanding and your support in enhancing the school safety protocols in our district."
Superintendent of Schools Brian Alexander said that he understands that some may oppose having to use ID when visiting the school, but he still feels this is one effective option for school safety.
"The use of ID for entering and visiting a schools during the school day is becoming a standard procedure across the region, state, and nation," he said. "While it is a change, it is a proven way to access data and part of a safeguard. Any inconvenience when weighed against safety of our children is well worth it."
He said that the Raptor System is a proactive approach the school system is taking to be sure visitors entering local schools meet the criteria necessary to be on school premises, and is also a safeguard in releasing students during check-out procedures.
"The system will also allow our secretaries and receptionists to efficiently assist parents and guardians throughout the school day, especially at peak times," he added.