This article originally appeared on News watch 12. To view the original article, click here.
Jan 28, 2019
ARBOR VITAE – For the last 39 years, Cathy Karaffa has been the first one people see when they enter Arbor Vitae – Woodruff Elementary School. This year, her job as school secretary includes a new task.
“This just adds another layer of what we do,” said Karaffa.
In early January, the school installed the Raptor System, which scans a person’s ID and checks them against the sex offender registry.
“If you’re someone that matches a name match in the national sex [offender] registry, it’s going to flash me a picture of that person,” said Karaffa.
“We then take the time to talk to that person and figure out what’s going on,” said Principal Rich Fortier. “I think all schools end up having some people who have some pasts that are in need of being checked.”
For the majority who don’t flag the system, getting in and out becomes fairly simple. After someone is registered into the system, they can use a computer that is set up in the front office to scan their ID in themselves, or simply type their name, to sign-in as a visitor.
Principal Rich Fortier says the school used safety grant money to cover the $2,500 it cost to install the system, which he believes was a worthwhile investment.
“I think everybody agrees that the safety of our kids is of paramount importance here,” said Fortier.
“We get thanked by a lot of members of the community that come in and say ‘I’m so glad you’re doing this, thank you,'” said Karaffa. “It makes them feel safer.”
Anyone who volunteers at the school is also checked against online court records. The school has also invested grant money into camera upgrades and safety training.