BY KEA YENGST
At the start of the new semester, Carmel High School initiated the use of the Raptor Visitor Management system, a machine that scans each visitor’s background for possible felonies or sex offenses prior to visitation.
Public schools across the United States are using this attendance mechanism in their offices to ensure that all visitors have a valid identification card scanned through Raptor in order to visit. The ID can be any form of identification, from a driver’s license to a military ID, and visitors don’t have to go through it if they visit more than one time.
If visitors do not have a valid ID, they cannot go on campus.
“[Visitors] have to present their driver’s license one time,” Carmel High attendance secretary Ann Berry says. “I scan the driver’s license and then I give them their first visitor’s pass. Once they are in the system, every time they come over to visit the campus, they still have to check in with me, but they can check themselves in with Raptor.”
This procedure is intended to prevent sex offenders from coming onto campus. Although there have been no reported occurrences, the visitor regulation is required to scan all visitors for potential threats.
Assistant principal Debbi Puente thinks this new policy for visitors is a way to improve campus security.
“It’s a great way for us to know who’s on campus,” Puente says. “It helps us make sure that the campus stays safe.”
When visitors check in, they are given a sticker name tag that has their ID photo, what room they are visiting and the time of their check-in. Prior to the use of Raptor, a physical roster had attendees sign in with the time they checked in and checked out.
“The more familiar we get with it, the happier I am,” Berry says. “I don’t have to stop and pull out the book. If I want to know where a person is going and they didn’t tell me, I can look on my computer right away.”
Previously, there had been no database of who exactly was on campus.
“We asked [visitors] to check in,” Puente says. “But we didn’t have the background that was given with this new machine. It looks for several things, like a record of any kind.”
Yet social studies teacher Bill Schrier has frequent visitors to his classes and questions the new office addition.
“I think that keeping students safe is always a good idea,” Schrier says. “I’m just not sure that this is the way to accomplish it and that it may be too heavy-handed.”
Meanwhile, social studies teacher Nora Ward is on board with this safety measure.
“It’s really helpful during school hours,” Ward says. “All the [visitors] have to do is swipe through the school’s system. I have four people who regularly come in for clubs, a panel that comes in and two people that come in for economics.”