The Union R-XI School District is moving forward with a new electronic sign in program designed to further protect students and staff from unwelcome visitors.
Assistant Superintendent Mike Mabe said the district and Raptor Technologies, a security company based in Texas, are moving forward with an agreement that will bring the new electronic system to district schools.
The sign in system will have secretaries ask visitors for a driver’s license or another legal form of identification. The visitor is then run through Raptor’s system which will perform an on-the-spot “level three” background check on the visitor.
Raptor’s system then screens the individual against the registered sex offender databases in all 50 states, provides background information and can also be equipped with a custom database that contains custody information and a list of banned visitors.
To date, Raptor’s system has flagged more than 50,000 registered sex offenders and has issued more than 150,000 custodial alerts at schools around the country. The system is used in nearly 15,000 schools.
After the visitor is run through the system, if cleared, they are provided a name tag with their name and their purpose printed on it. This, Mabe said during a past discussion on the system, would help principals and staff when approaching visitors.
Mabe said the system will be a massive improvement to the way the school district screens its visitors now.
“I’m excited for it,” Mabe said. “I had a system similar to this when I was a building principal and the secretary and parents liked it because it was another layer of security.
Currently, visitors at schools are buzzed into a locked room, or “man trap,” where they speak with a secretary who will ask them who they are and why they are visiting.
School Resource Officer Rick Neace said he thinks the new system is a great idea and will provide a level of security the district currently does not have.
“It will be better for the safety of our children. It feels like a more thorough search,” Neace said. “I think in the long run, once you get the initial entries, it will be a lot more efficient for the schools.”
The sign-in system comes on the tail of the installation of new and upgraded security cameras throughout the district. Mabe said the district is actively trying to make the district as safe a place as it can be.
Mabe said installation shouldn’t take long, as the actual equipment is minimal and the system is mostly internet based. He said the hope is to have the new system in place and principals and secretaries trained before the school year starts Aug. 17.
Principals and secretaries around the district agreed the sign-in system would be a positive addition to Union schools, he said.