Entering and exiting some of the schools in the Scarsdale School District will look very different at the end of the month.
The district plans to integrate a visitor management system by Houston-based technology company Raptor Technologies, LLC by April 24 in the middle school and by April 26 in the high school.
“This is part of our multipronged approach in our budget rollout,” said Assistant Superintendent for Business Stuart Mattey at the school board meeting on April 8. “We still want to maintain that welcoming environment, but making sure we’re keeping people we don’t want in the building, out of the building.”
In the new system, when entering a school building a visitor will have to provide a government issued identification card to a designated safety monitor. The safety monitor will scan the visitor’s ID in a proprietary device by Raptor Technologies. The Raptor visitor management system runs a complete criminal background check, as well as checks against the sex offender registry for all 50 states, gang affiliations, and other custom district-based databases that include custody alerts and unwanted or banned visitors.
“If the visitor is approved through those scans then it will print out a badge, taking the photograph from the identification, [the person’s] name, date and time of visit, and where [he or she is] going to visit,” said Michael Spedaliere, chief of safety, security and emergency management for the Scarsdale schools.
All visitors entering the building will be required to put their ID through the system, including parents, postal service and delivery personnel. When leaving the building, the visitor will need to check out of the building. After six to eight hours, the pass will automatically become void, according to Mattey.
Raptor is able to notify law enforcement via text or email if a visitor is denied access to the building. Procedures and policies are still in development within the district as to when an individual is found to be on a list and cannot enter the school, according to Spedaliere.
“We don’t have anything in stone yet, but that is something that is pretty close to being settled,” Mattey told the Inquirer.
With the introduction of the visitor management system, the school district plans to expand their network of unarmed safety monitors. Two individuals, contracted through Altaris, would be assigned to each of the seven school buildings. The middle school is going to have 12 daily hours of coverage and the high school will have 20 daily hours of coverage. Also included in the 2019-20 budget are 16 hours of coverage on Saturdays at the high school. The new budget, which was unanimously approved on April 8, allocates $805,407 for expanded visitor management and building safety personnel levels with $649,416 in contractual work. The school budget vote will take place on May 21.
“The Raptor Visitor Management system is designed to allow schools and districts to know exactly who is coming into and out of buildings at all times and keep sex offenders and unwanted persons out,” said Eileen Shihadeh, the senior vice president of sales and marketing at Raptor Technologies. “So though it can’t actually stop a potential shooter, it adds an extra layer of security.”
When a visitor scans his or her ID, Raptor collects the visitor’s identification photo, name, date of birth and the first four digits of the person’s license number. No additional data is gathered or recorded and no photocopy of the ID is retained according to an explanatory email sent to parents by Mattey on March 18.
“Communication is important so parents know what to expect when they come visit our buildings,” said Mattey. “The other aspect of it is making sure our buildings remain welcoming places for [them].”