Visitors to each of the Brownwood ISD schools have one more obstacle in obtaining access to campuses after BISD implemented its new Raptor Technologies security system.
The new securities system went online Monday and uses facial recognition software and government databases to prevent registered sex offenders from accessing students.
“We installed the equipment, tested it for about a week and just started using it,” said Priscilla Monson, Brownwood ISD Executive Director of Community Relations and the Brownwood Education Foundation. “We sent a letter out to all of the parents that are signed up on our school messenger system … We explained in that letter what the system was, why we are implementing it and the simple procedure that will be taking place from this point on.”
As part of the new security requirements, visitors to any BISD campus must submit their ID, which school staff will scan with the Raptor Technologies system. Using facial recognition software, the system scans national sex register databases and within seconds determines whether the visitor is safe to be around children.
“It’s not much different from what we already did,” Monson said. “We already asked parents to sign in and we checked IDs for most things already. It’s not much different other than giving us a deeper sense of security … It’s almost instantaneous, within a minute or two and it doesn’t slow you down.”
Along with checking if the visitor is a registered sex offender, the system also prints off labels identifying the visitor and his or her approved destination. Monson said all visitors must have their IDs scanned before they enter, even contracted laborers.
“If a visitor is going to a meeting at a library on that campus, you can readily see that is where they are supposed to be,” she said. “If that person is wandering around in a different building, then say ‘Can I direct you to the library? Are you looking for something? Can I help you?”
The system cost $10,984, which does not include a $540 annual service fee for each location and a $3,000 maintenance fee, which come from the district’s technology budget Monson said the new system insures everyone on campus are who they say they are and where they are supposed to be. She later added the system is one that equally impacts the entire campus community.
“If it’s somebody coming in to do work on the campus or a program, we’re going to treat them exactly like we treat the parent that walks in the door,” Monson said. “The nice thing about this system is that it’s completely nondiscriminatory. Everyone is treated the same. If are coming on to our campus and you do not work here or go to school here, then you are going to be scanned.
“It is very easy for someone to put a uniform on and pretend like they work for a company, but there is no assurance of that. Taking a personal ID, regardless of who they are, we’re focusing on that particular person, not their role, not their company, the individual person. We scan them all. It’s very fair and across the board.”