As part of a program to increase the safety of students and staff, West Side Schools will begin using a visitor management system today when students and staff return from Spring Break. The new procedure will require all district vendors, substitute teachers, volunteers, and visitors — including parents — to present a valid, state-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or military ID, before entering student-populated areas of buildings.
It is important that parents and other visitors should plan to bring a valid ID on their first visit to campus. When checking students out of school or entering student areas of the building, visitors should expect an extra minute or two for their identification to be scanned. In some cases, a potential alert may appear, which could take office personnel a few minutes to resolve.
Elementary office personnel will confirm the identity of adults who leave with a student; high school office personnel will scan ID’s before adults leave with a student.
The visitor management system, known as Raptor, will alert school personnel if there is a potential match as a registered sex offender. The system accesses only the visitor's name, date of birth and photo for comparison with a national database of registered sex offenders. Additional visitor data from the ID is not gathered nor is the system connected to any other system such as the Office of Motor Vehicle. Therefore, any other information on the ID is not scanned by the system and is not accessible to any of the users. Once entry is approved, Raptor will issue a badge that identifies the visitor, the date, and the purpose of the visit.
“Part of keeping students and faculty safe is knowing who is in our building at all times, and the Raptor system will allow us to do that,” said Andy Chisum, superintendent. “This procedure will better allow us to track visitors, contractors, and volunteers in our schools and provide us with a safer environment for our students and staff.”
A visitor’s badge will not be necessary for those who visit the school to drop off an item in the office or pick up paperwork. However, parents or guardians who check out a student must present identification. In cases where a visitor does not have identification, a staff member may escort the visitor to the intended destination.
For more information about the new procedure, contact the elementary office at 501-825-7744, the high school office at 501-825-7241, or the superintendent’s office at 501-825-6258.
“The safety of our students is our highest priority, and this visitor management system provides a consistent way to aid in keeping away people who may present a danger,” said Chisum. “Because of that, all visitors to the school must be scanned into the system and obtain a visitor badge. Thank you, in advance, for your understanding and support of enhancing school safety protocols in our district.”