A new visitor and volunteer check in system has been implemented in all PPS district schools to replace the old Help Counter system that kept track of people entering schools. The new system scans the visitor’s government issued ID against the public sex offender registries in all states. It’s a system that has already been implemented by Raptor Technologies in over 20,000 schools nationwide. This scan only checks for level 3, or the most dangerous offenders. Level 3 offenders are already published in public databases that can be found online. This new system means that anyone who isn’t a student or staff member needs government issued ID to enter a PPS building.
When the district updated internet browsers, the Help Counter system was no longer usable, so the district selected the Raptor Technologies system as a replacement because it met all of their requirements. Raptor scans government issued ID and keeps a database of all entries and exits. It prints a badge for every visitor or volunteer that includes their destination in the building. Volunteers still have to complete a full background check prior to entering a PPS school just as they have had to do for years. After the first visit, they only need visitors’ names, but they still check every visitor against the sex offender registry every single time they enter the building.
The district is aware that this could be a problem for undocumented individuals who don’t have government ID, but Karen Werstein, PPS’s Public Informations Officer says, “creating a safe and welcoming place for all families and students is very important to the district.” If visitors do not have a government ID, they can bring in one or more documents that include date of birth and photo, if possible. Once school staff can verify a visitor’s identity, they only need a name on future visits. Werstein guarantees that the data they are receiving is kept very secure but confirm that they are obligated to comply with a warrant or subpoena signed by a judge. This includes subpoenas issued by a government agency like ICE, which may be concerning to visitors who are undocumented or have undocumented family members. Aside from this unlikely scenario, however, the information is only kept by Raptor Technologies and can only be accessed by the users approved by the district and Raptor’s employees.
In the case of parents or guardians who are registered sex offenders, they are still not allowed on campus. PPS assures that this shouldn’t be a limitation on parents advocating for their students. “The school principals have been advised to make arrangements with that parent and provide the same access to advocacy for their student.” The district was clear that it’s not much different from the previous system and shouldn’t limit parents from visiting or volunteering.