Marion County Public Schools has added another layer to school safety by implementing a new visitor management system in all schools.
The Raptor Visitor Management System requires guests to present a valid ID at the school’s front desk which will quickly be scanned. The Raptor system checks the visitor’s name and date of birth for comparison with a national database of registered sex offenders. No other data from the ID is gathered or recorded and the information is not shared with any outside agency.
“We’re doing this as a proactive measure just to add one more layer of protection,” MCPS Director of School Safety Scott Spalding said. “It’s not a requirement by any means, but we just feel this another layer to help ensure school safety.”
Once entry is approved, Raptor will issue a stick-on badge that identifies the visitor, the date, and the purpose of the visit. A visitor’s badge will not be necessary for those who visit a school simply to drop off an item in the office or pick up paperwork.
Also, if a visitor does not have an official ID with them, they can simply provide information to the front office staff which will be entered manually to complete the safety check.
Visitors that have already had their ID scanned during a previous visit do not have to present the ID again during subsequent visits. The Raptor system can complete the review process with the information already stored.
Front office staff members were trained on the new system on the district’s most recent early dismissal day.
The decision to add the Raptor system to MCPS came after Spalding attended a training on school safety and visited a school which used it.
“I started doing some research on this product and its competitors and found that the Raptor program, I felt, was the safest and most reliable to ensure the safety of our students,” Spalding said.
The Raptor system is just one of several safety improvements added throughout MCPS in recent years. Each school added audio and video devices for visitor check-in so that front office staff can view and communicate with visitors before they enter the building. Also, several schools received entryway modifications so that now, at all schools, visitors must pass by the front office before entering classroom areas. Additionally, the district has added security cameras, radios, and wand metal detectors, as well as providing increased access to buildings and security features to local law enforcement.
“We’ll be ongoing in implementing any kind of strategy for the safety of our students and staff,” Spalding said.