DeKalb School District 428 has gone high-tech to help prevent potential security threats. Superintendent Douglas Moeller is confident the new security measure, known as the Raptor System, will be effective to address security risks rapidly.
“It obviously is much more convenient for our families who we do want to be involved in their children’s school experience,” Moeller said. “The old process was time-consuming; and a lot of parents, I think, felt that we were trying to keep them out of schools rather than welcoming them into our schools.”
The Raptor System, which was installed throughout school district 428, uses a minimal background check on visitors' government-issued IDs to determine whether there is any history as a sex offender. According to Moeller, the district used to receive hard copies of sex-offender registries four times per year before the Raptor System. Now updates are available weekly.
“Our parents have been very receptive to the idea of it,” Moeller said, “I had expected that there would be some complaints from community members.”
Tammy Carson, district director of facility operations, says schools will take action if a security risk is suspected. “If a hit is identified, then administration will become involved to restrict access," she said. “We do ask them to have a seat, and the administrator on call or on hand that day would respond and bring that individual into a conference area and explain to them what has happened.”
According to Carson, police are not typically involved in handling visitors that trigger a hit on the background check. “Most of the time these individuals are aware they are on this list and understand the restrictions of their conviction,” She said.
District 428 is not the only school district in the area with an updated security system. Sycamore School District 427 updated its security system last summer with BluePoint Security boxes throughout the district. They allow students to respond to security threats by pulling a lever, much like a fire alarm. According to Sycamore Supt. Kathy Countryman, those alarms receive frequent tests and have not yet been needed for an actual threat.