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Visitors at Leon Schools Get Screened

By: Angela Salerno
By: Angela Salerno

The Raptor is a database containing the names of all known sexual predators. It was introduced just two years ago, but is catching on fast.

The beginning of this school year saw all schools in Leon County using the Raptor. This technology keeps tabs on all visitors who enter and leave school property.

"The main goal is for visitors on campus to be screened and to have some access control to provide credential for person visiting school," said John Hunkair, safety board for Leon County School districts.

The Raptor is plugged into a database of convicted sexual predators from 46 states. It then scans a visitor’s driver’s license to make sure sex offenders are kept out of schools and school offices. The system has so far been a success.

"We have had it go off, I would say, a couple of times. I will get a text message on my cell phone as well as law enforcement, he'll get one. And our assistant principal for student affairs will get an instant e-mail," said Randy Pridgeon, Principal at Godby High School.

Officials will then discuss appropriate options with the visitors.

From the time you hand the receptionist your driver’s license, it takes just a few minutes. The Raptor database scans your license, and once your records are clear you get your badge.

Pridgeon says if you don't have the certified badge from Raptor you can't come on campus; it's that simple.

A mother of five agrees that this will keep children safe.

They would know who’s there and whose suppose to be there, so they would pretty much know that they’re not a person there that would harm them," said Jessie Simmons.

Many parents feel that this system is working harder to catch the people, so not just the community, but kids are safe too.

This system was prompted by the Jessica Lunsford Act, protecting students from sexual predators. This system cost the school district $65,000, along with additional costs per year to keep the system updated.


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