This article originally appeared on oanow.com, and was written by Cynthia Williford. To view the original article, click here.
OPELIKA, AL – Visitors to Yarbrough and Ogletree elementary schools in Auburn will pass through an added layer of security when entering those schools in the upcoming school year.
School visitor management systems were installed at both schools last week as part of a pilot program to test the equipment. The systems, created by Raptor Technologies, were installed through a partnership with Auburn City Schools and the Auburn Police Department.
Upon arrival, visitors will be required to present a state-issued ID that will be run through a scanner, checking the visitor’s information against the nationwide sex offender database.
Chris Hardman, Auburn City Schools residency officer, said the system helps increase security by sending alerts across campus.
“If we do have a sex offender that shows up on campus and their ID is screened and they’re a verified sex offender, we can immediately, just with the click of a button, send a text message, email and call to our school resource police officers, the principal, the assistant principal, anyone who would need to know,” Hardman said. “I think from a communication aspect, it’ll really help a lot too because it’ll make sure that more people are aware.”
The system also allows front-desk workers to keep a log of visitors, giving them a snapshot of who is entering and leaving the schools. Hardman noted the system helps front desk workers monitor those who are new to the area.
“Obviously this area and our school system continues to grow, and with that I think that you have more and more of a populous who are new to the area and there’s no way to possibly know who is here, who is not, as our area continues to grow,” Hardman said. “I think that it helps to safeguard the kids if we’re able to put a measure in place that will automatically screen those people as they come into the school.”
The system was selected after about six months of research to pilot and will potentially be installed in more schools in the future.
Mary Anna Martin-Smith, Ogletree Elementary School principal, said she is excited about participating in the effort.
“A significant priority in schools is keeping our students safe,” Martin-Smith said. “Anytime we can pilot something like Raptor to assist in achieving that safety, we are excited to implement.”
The system aligns with the school system’s efforts to remain on the cutting edge of the latest security measures across the nation, according to Hardman.
“It’s real important to me, to our system as we continue to grow to keep looking for things that are going to serve our population better as a whole, the kids especially, and to be on the cutting edge,” Hardman said. “I think this represents a step that the school system is committed to making the schools as safe as they can be.”