This article originally appeared in the St. Charles Herald Guide and was written by Ryan Arena. To view the original article, click here.
ST. CHARLES, LA – Implementing nationally recognized web-based technology to boost security, St. Charles Parish Public Schools has started using a system called Raptor to screen all visitors who come to school campuses.
Raptor enhances its current visitor screening policies and procedures. Under the program, visitors will supply their ID to a member of the staff at the front desk. The staff member will then scan the ID, which will draw the person’s name and birthday. It will then check the person’s name against the United States Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Registry. No other information will be drawn.
Raptor will print the picture pulled from the license along with the destination of the visit and the name of the school on an identification sticker for the visiting person to wear.
“Part of keeping students and faculty safe is knowing who is in our buildings at all times, and the Raptor system allows us to do that,” said St. Charles Parish Public Schools Superintendent Felecia Gomez-Walker. “The Raptor system complements our visitor screening policy and procedures by allowing us to efficiently track visitors in our schools.”Kade Rogers, St. Charles Parish Public Schools Coordinator of Safety, Security and Emergency Preparedness, said the Raptor system has been implemented with success elsewhere and represents a chance to further create a safe environment for the parish’s students.
“We strive for continual improvement and when new technology is implemented, we certainly always want to explore the benefits it can yield,” Rogers said. “It doesn’t keep anybody’s information or check anything else. It’s a very quick process and it won’t take any more time than the system we have had in place with a written out name tag.”
The name stays in the web-based system after the initial scan, so on subsequent visits, a staff member can utilize a quick find option to check the name against the registry.Rogers said the program also enables staff members to easily alert authorities if a sex offender is flagged. Rogers himself will also have access to it throughout the school district in case further action is required.
“Our school system has a strong reputation for not just education but also safety, (a reputation) that predates my tenure,” he said. “I feel like other districts look to us as an example, and that’s a testament to our board and administration. We’re constantly working to be at the forefront when it comes to safety.”