Kingsport Times-News: Visitor management system in place at all 22 Sullivan County schools
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Visitor management system in place at all 22 Sullivan County schools

Rick Wagner • Mar 12, 2019 at 8:00 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — A visitor management system is in place at all 22 Sullivan County schools, a system also used in neighboring school systems including those in Kingsport and Johnson City. It is called the Raptor Visitor Management System, provided by Raptor Industries, and will flag sex offenders.

“We are at 100 percent. We’re done,” Karen Nave, supervisor of technology, communications and safety for Sullivan County Schools, said Monday.

Replacing the old-school visitor sign-in sheets, the Raptor system uses identification cards, most commonly driver’s licenses, to screen those entering school to check for things such as sex offender status and custody order. Upon check in, visitors are required to present their state- or federal government-issued ID to be scanned. The system then checks against a national database of registered sex offenders, as well as a custom database created by each district or school.

The sticker badge then created includes a photo, the person’s name, date, time of entry and destination, such as the administration offices, cafeteria or classrooms. And the system gives a more accurate account than the old sign-in sheets of who is in the building in case of a fire or other emergency.

“People are checking in and out of our campuses constantly,” Sullivan County Director of Schools Evelyn Rafalowski said. “It’s a revolving door of visitors, volunteers and vendors, and the Raptor system offers an extra layer of protection. Whether it’s making sure a student is being released to the right parent who has custody or whether a volunteer, visitor or vendor has been cleared to enter our campus, we know with Raptor we’re doing everything we can to keep our students and faculty safe.”

Ketron Elementary School in Bloomingdale got its Raptor installation in November. Secretaries Gail Bedford and Melissa Nash said the system works well and that parents and others are used to it now. Rafalowski said secretaries and parents like the system. Kingsport Assistant Superintendent of Administration Andy True said the Raptor system, in place in KCS about three years, is popular with employees and parents in that system, too.

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

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. Bedford said that the system soon will be upgraded to read Sullivan County Schools employee IDs.

Sullivan County schools join more than 22,000 schools that used Raptor in the United States, and the system flags more than 40 sex offenders per day or 50,000 to date attempting to enter schools, as well as more than 250,000 custody alerts.

 

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