This article originally appeared on WHNT 19 News. To view the original article, click here.
Jun 21, 2019
MADISON COUNTY, Ala. — The Madison County Board of Education is investing in some serious security for their schools. It’s a new system that keeps track of every visitor, where they are, who they are, and checks a national database for known sex offenders.
For years, schools have been set up so that once a visitor is inside the building they have access to the whole building, but tragic events in history have prompted change.
“We’ve seen different catastrophes with schools, with people penetrating the buildings,” said operations supervisor Joseph Cuzzort.
Nearly every building in the Madison County Schools district has been upgraded with a second set of lockable doors inside the entrance of the building. “So that every visitor that comes into our school has to be stopped,” Cuzzort explained.
But “another piece of the safety pie” has also been added. It’s called the RAPTOR security system.
Any visitor that comes through the front doors– and wants to enter an area of the school where students are– first has to come to the front office window and have their ID scanned through the RAPTOR system.
The system scans an ID in less than 20 seconds, and then your name and date of birth are checked against the national sex offender registry.
If the screen lights up red, it means the visitor has a record. But for anyone that’s visiting, this system keeps track of when they’re at the school, and where they are.
“They pick a destination so we know where this visitor should be in our school,” Cuzzort said.
When a visitor’s ID is cleared through the system, they receive a sticker badge and can enter the school.
“We feel like it’s worth the cost so that we can make sure we know who’s in our building,” Cuzzort said.
This system is effective in all 27 Madison County schools starting the first day of school.
The RAPTOR security system also alerts school staff of child custody violations, and provides district-wide reporting for all visitors.