Editorial: Every school should have a ‘Raptor’

Editorial Board • Mar 28, 2019 at 12:46 PM

Technology has made out children much safer in all 22 Sullivan County schools, including Kingsport, via the Raptor Visitor management System. 

Where previous visitors had only to sign in, the new system requires formal identification such as a driver’s license, which is scanned. The system then checks local and remote databases before issuing a printed visitor pass containing the visitor’s photo and location within the school that’s being visited.

The remote databases that are checked include a national sex offender registry, and others may be added. Locally, the system checks to see if there are any issues with the individual, including whether he or she has been banned from the campus and whether a parent is prohibited from having contact with a child due to a custody battle or other issue.

That’s important because children have been abducted from schools by a non-custodial parent.

The system records visitor details and sign-in history for every visitor who enters each school and creates reports for entire districts or individual schools. Information is displayed throughout the entire platform, and emergency panic buttons allow front desk personnel to easily and discreetly communicate to school leaders or law enforcement if they feel threatened, distressed or need assistance.

Ketron Elementary School in Bloomingdale got its Raptor installation in November, and secretaries Gail Bedford and Melissa Nash said the system works well and parents and others are accustomed to it and like the system. “We really like

Technology has made our children much safer in all 22 Sullivan County schools, including Kingsport, via the Raptor Visitor Management System.

it,” Bedford said. “The parents are getting to where when they come in the door they have their licenses in their hand.”

Kingsport Assistant Superintendent of Administration Andy True said the system, in place in Kingsport city schools for three years, is popular with employees and parents in that system, too.

The first time someone uses a license or other identification card to enter a school, Bedford, Nash or their colleagues across the school system must key in the ID. However, after that the ID is entered in that school’s database and folks check in by letting a scanner look at their ID’s bar code.

At Ketron, most visitors except parents picking up children and a few others use a scanner that automatically prints out a sticker that shows the person’s photo from the ID. Parents picking up students and some other visitors can use a separate scanner that does not automatically print out the sticker since the parents leave the office with the children and don’t go farther into the school.

Nash said that aside from U.S. driver’s licenses, the system also will use Mexican driver’s licenses, a passport and a photo ID issued to those who do not have a U.S. driver’s license.

Sullivan County schools now join Kingsport schools and more than 22,000 others that use this technology, which has flagged more than 40 sex offenders per day attempting to enter schools. Every school should have similar technology.