Local

Woodstock School District 200 implements tech system to screen visitors

Equipment cost school officials $20K

Visitors to Woodstock School District 200 facilities have been required to check in at the schools’ 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 the 12 schools in the district 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 after 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,” District 200 Superintendent Mike Moan said.

The Raptor system is used at more than 20,000 schools across the nation, including in several area schools. District 200 bought the equipment, which includes the scanners and printers, in April for $20,700. There also is an annual $6,480 cost to maintain the system.

Westwood Elementary School Principal Ryan Hart said visitors only will 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 [will be screened],” 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’s 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.

Although visitors are highly encouraged to bring a valid ID, the system has the capability of taking a photo of the visitor and running a check based on a name and date of birth.

School officials have asked for patience from visitors and an understanding that safety is the No. 1 goal. Hart said parents have been pleased to hear that the Raptor system is in place.

“We’ve really gotten nothing but [a] positive reaction from parents,” Hart said.

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