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Newport Schools Install New Security Measure for Visitors

Newport Independent Schools has implemented a new screening process for visitors to the school that revolves around Raptor, state-of-the-art background-checking software that scans the IDs of visitors and checks this information against the national sex-offender registry and custom databases created by the school district.

Under the newly implemented system, visitors to a Newport public school will enter the school through the main office, where their IDs will be scanned instead of having the visitors sign in using a pen-and-paper visitor’s form. If the visitor passes the Raptor system background check, school personnel will print out a custom badge with his or her name, photo, and school destination.

Rusty Adams, technology coordinator for NIS, said these badges allow staff throughout the school system to easily recognize visitors who are authorized to be in school facilities and help them find their way to their final destination.

If Raptor does find a potential match in its system, it will show the matched information side-by-side with the visitor’s ID, which will allow the secretary to verify the match. School administrator(s) also will receive a notification about the visitor’s match so they can head to the office to review the information and explain why the visitor might not be allowed to enter the school building.

NIS administrators also have the ability to create custom databases within Raptor for individuals who have been barred from visiting school facilities within the district for any reason. After scanning the ID, office personnel will be automatically warned about the visitor ban, regardless of whether or not it originated at the school being visited.

“Over the past few years, we have made a lot of static improvements to our school buildings like door buzzers, improved entryways, and more security cameras,” Adams said. “But we believed that we could further improve our procedure for admitting visitors and Raptor seemed like the perfect complement to our other security initiatives.”

In addition to background checks for visitors, NIS administrators will now be able to pull reports about the number of visitors to their schools and how many came in over a certain period of time. Raptor also will allow NIS to track volunteer hours, which is important for the district’s family-resource centers and to help gauge community involvement within the schools, Adams said.

Parents and other individuals will still be able to drop off papers and other items without showing ID. However, visitors wishing to go beyond the main office will be required to show their ID and have their information scanned by the new Raptor system.

-Staff report

Photo: Newport High School

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