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New system is better security

We applaud an additional level of security recently added in two Suffolk schools, which are piloting a new system before it is expanded to all of Suffolk’s public schools.

The Raptor Visitor Management System will be used by security monitors at each school to check visitors’ state-issued identification, such as driver’s licenses, against national sex offender databases.

Booker T. Washington Elementary and John F. Kennedy Middle schools are testing the program out over the next few weeks before it is implemented at all of the schools, likely within the month, according to Coordinator of Student Services David LeFevre. More than half of the cost was covered by the Virginia Department of Education, with the local school division picking up the rest of the cost.

While doing a more stringent check for sex offenders attempting to enter the schools is a good first step, the system also has capabilities that can help keep better track of who is coming into and out of the schools in general, and those will eventually be implemented as well, LeFevre said.

The system also has helpful capabilities that don’t necessarily have to do with security. For example, it can count volunteers arriving at the school or keep better track of students who are arriving late or leaving early.

The system cost only $2,000 for each school, and it seems like a great value for the money. In the current environment, ensuring that sex offenders cannot slide by undetected, as well as having a better idea of who is on campus at all times, is a great step toward making our schools safer.