TOWSON, Md. - Schools in Baltimore County will be able to conduct immediate background checks on visitors as part of a system wide security upgrade.
Called "Raptor," the system is part will be able to also create of on-the-spot, personalized identification badges, complete with photographs.
"This new check-in system enhances security both for the visitor and for the school and its students and staff," said Dale Rauenzahn , executive director for the BCPS Office of School Safety and Security in a statement. "The beauty of the system is that visitors won't have to check into a school more than once - simply presenting your identification on subsequent visits will enable the school to log you in and print a visitor's pass."
County school officials said information collected by the Raptor system will not be shared outside of the school system and is stored on a secure server. The system works by scanning a visitor's driver's license or government-issued photo ID.
Staff members in the main office will scan the ID, and Raptor will extract the photo, name, driver's license number and date of birth. Information will be used to log visitors in, print a personalized visitor's pass or badge and check a visitor's information against sexual offender databases throughout the nation. The process must be repeated for first-time visits to another school. Refusal to have an ID scanned will result in a denial of access to the school.
The Raptor system is part of a larger effort to improve school security in Baltimore County. Among other upgrades set to be implemented once students return Aug. 26 is the addition of a school resource officer at every high school and middle school in the county. Also, patrol officers will make daily visits to elementary and special education schools through its Keep-a-Check program.
The upgrades come a year after a special needs student was shot by a schoolmate at Perry Hall High School followed by a near second school shooting that was thwarted at Stemmers Run Middle School in Essex.
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