High-tech security system helping San Diego schools keep criminals off campus

Raptor System scans visitors for criminal history

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Dozens of schools across San Diego County are using a new, high-tech security system to scan every person who comes to campus and keep criminals away from kids.

Raptor Technologies uses a web-based system to scan visitors for sex offender status and custody issues.

"It takes the judgment out of it," said Cindy Orr, principal of McMillin Elementary School in Chula Vista. "I don't have to look at someone and think, 'Oh, he's safe.'"

The first time anyone comes to campus, the Raptor system scans their ID and runs the information through a nationwide database. Every subsequent time, people only have to sign in on a computer typically placed near the front desk.

After that, a badge with the visitor's name and picture prints out. All visitors must wear that badge as long as they're on campus.

If someone who is a registered sex offender tries to pass through the system, an alert goes out to the person monitoring the desk and to other school officials on their cell phones.

So far, McMillin Elementary has only had two alerts go out, and both were false alarms.

"We're trained to handle it in a very diplomatic way," said Denee' Felber, secretary at McMillin Elementary. "We just explain, 'I'm sorry, but at this time you're not allowed to come onto campus.'"

If there are problems after that, Felber said they're told to call the school resource officer.

Raptor Technologies says 19,000 schools across the nation use the service, which has flagged more than 50,000 registered sex offenders trying to get onto school campuses.

They average 30 per day nationwide.

In San Diego County, seven school districts and 10 other private or charter schools have installed Raptor Technologies. They include:

  • San Diego Unified School District
  • Sweetwater Union High School District
  • Del Mar Union School District
  • Chula Vista Elementary School District
  • Cajon Valley Union School District
  • Poway Unified School District
  • San Ysidro School District
  • Hawking STEAM Charter School
  • La Jolla Country Day School
  • Lawrence Family JCC
  • Bella Mente Montessory Academy
  • E3 Civic High School
  • Urban Discovery Academy
  • Museum School
  • Elevate Elementary Charter School
  • The Cambridge School
  • San Diego Jewish Academy

Orr said parents have been very accepting of the scans. She likes the extra level of reassurance it provides that the kids are safe.

"When I see someone that doesn't have a badge, I'm very comfortable saying, 'Why are you on campus? Have you checked through the system?' And them sometimes if they got through, I lead them to the system," Orr said.

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