New program in place at Sumiton school to ensure visitors aren’t a threat
by Rachel Davis
Oct 17, 2013 | 2457 views | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rachel Bradford, president of Sumiton Elementary/Middle School’s PTO, put up signs on the front doors of the school Wednesday. The signs explain the new Raptor system that is being used to screen and track visitors to the school. The system scans the visitor’s identification card and checks it against registered sex offenders from all 50 states. The system also allows school officials to input custodial notices to prevent the wrong person from checking a child out of school. Daily Mountain Eagle - Rachel Davis
Rachel Bradford, president of Sumiton Elementary/Middle School’s PTO, put up signs on the front doors of the school Wednesday. The signs explain the new Raptor system that is being used to screen and track visitors to the school. The system scans the visitor’s identification card and checks it against registered sex offenders from all 50 states. The system also allows school officials to input custodial notices to prevent the wrong person from checking a child out of school. Daily Mountain Eagle - Rachel Davis
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SUMITON — Sumiton Elementary/Middle School gained a new tool to keep students safe this week. The school purchased and installed Raptor Technology in the school’s front office. The Raptor system allows office workers to scan the government-issued identification cards of visitors and compares them against the list of registered sex offenders.

When a visitor’s identification card is scanned, the system performs the checks, asks for the visitor’s reason for visiting the school and then prints off a badge, with the visitor’s name, photo, date, time and destination. This allows school personnel to tell, at a glance, where the visitor is suppose to be and identify anyone who has not checked in at the office.

The system allows school officials to set up alerts for custody situations to prevent someone who is not authorized from removing a child from the school.

With more than 800 students in SEMS this year, the number of custodial changes and issues that can arise are often more than the office staff can keep track of, so having a system in place to remind workers if there is an issue with a child or parent could be invaluable for the safety of a student, officials said.

Raptor also keeps a log of visitors to the building, how long they were there and which areas they visited. That information is stored and can be accessed by school officials should a question or issue arise.

The system costs approximately $1,600 and the school’s Parent Teacher Organization has stepped in to assist with the cost.

There is a more expensive version of the software that performs full criminal background checks, but the school does not have that version at this time.

Rachel Bradford, president of the PTO, came to the school with the idea, Principal Paige Skalnik said.

Bradford originally learned about the software from her husband, who works in the Birmingham School System. Raptor was presented as a possible vendor for those schools, and she thought it was a program that would benefit the elementary school.

With two children in SEMS, she has a vested interest in keeping the school safe for her children as well as the other students in the school.

“Being a PTO parent, safety is a huge concern to a lot of our parents,” Bradford said. “We want to assure them their children are safe.”

She also thanks Skalnik for being willing to go to any length to improve the safety of the school for the children.

According to the website for the software, the system is used in more than 8,000 schools across the country and in more than 500 YMCA or other youth-focused facilities across the country. It has been used to identify more than 10,000 registered sex offenders who have entered those schools since it’s inception in 2003. It has also been credited with the arrests of many offenders who had crossed state lines but had not updated their registry.

For more information on the Raptor system, visit www.raptorware.com.