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Penn Hills

Penn Hills School District using new visitor management system to improve student safety

Michael DiVittorio
| Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 6:03 p.m.
Penn Hills High School
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Penn Hills High School

Penn Hills School District has implemented a new Raptor visitor management system to help improve student and staff safety.

District Technology Director Roger Myers said the system, which launched this month, is cheaper and more efficient than the previous vendor.

“Part of keeping students safe is knowing who is in our buildings at all times,” he said. “The Raptor system will improve our ability to screen visitors, contractors and volunteers entering our schools and provide us with a safer environment for everyone.”

District documents indicate Penn Hills will save nearly $800 in three years compared to the other company, which the district would not name.

Myers said visitors still will follow the same procedure when entering the building, which includes showing a valid photo ID.

“The system checks the visitor's name and date of birth for comparison with a national database of registered sex offenders,” according to a district news release. “No other data from the ID is gathered or recorded, and the information is not shared with any outside agency. Once entry is approved, Raptor will issue a badge that identifies the visitor, date and purpose of visit.”

The ID will be held at the security office and returned when the visitor signs out of the building. A visitor who fails to provide current federal or state-issued photo identification will be barred from entry.

“The safety of our students and staff is our highest priority,” district spokeswoman Teresita Kolenchak said. “The (new system) allows us to quickly identify those that may present a danger to them.”

The district also is working on linking a tips hotline from the Penn Hills police department to the district's website as an additional safety measure.

More information about other security matters considered by the district is available online via safety committee minutes at bit.ly/2L5q2OY.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2367, mdivittorio@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MikeJdiVittorio.

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