The Raptor system is part of our district’s many recent “safety” upgrades. I wish I understood how it will make my kids’ schools safer. I can see how it will deter convicted sex offenders from checking in at the front desk, but I don’t see how it will accomplish much else. My guess is that it will be widely ignored, like the current sign-in and sign-out procedure. If not, waiting in a long line of parents undergoing background checks will certainly change the experience of attending school concerts, book fairs, and holiday parties.
A reader writes:
For some parents of our most vulnerable and marginalized children, this seems like it would be a massive disincentive for the kind of parental involvement that could make their school a more welcoming place. If I’m an illegal immigrant, for example, will I be joining my child for lunch, or coming to their school play, if I have to scan a gov’t issued ID? What if I’m a convicted felon (I’m not, by the way!), and don’t want to go through the shame of having the school secretary, and my child’s teacher, know that fact?The company advertises that the system can “screen for individuals with restraining orders, custody issues, suspended or expelled students, known gang members, or for any custom alert,” though the district tells me it will be used to screen only for sex offenders. Nonetheless, I agree with this reader that Raptor can only be a deterrent to parental involvement. Judging from the company’s website, that’s practically the system’s goal, since all outsiders are potential threats. From one post on the site:
From front door vestibules to visitor management, any adult trying to enter that school would have no doubt that they are being watched and deterred from doing harm on campus. Delays are key, according to security consultant Paul Timm. . . .Why are the most authoritarian social trends so quick to find expression in the school system? All security measures are worth whatever they cost and whatever must be sacrificed, regardless of whether they are likely to be effective, because otherwise DANGER! I’d offer to sell the district some magic amulets to ward off evil spirits, but I guess that wouldn’t be very Twenty-First Century of me.
Visitor Management is simple and costs a few hundred dollars. It’s a security measure that most kids never notice, but adults will find invasive. And let me tell you- if you’re attempting to get near my kids while they are sitting in a classroom or cafeteria, you had better count on being stopped, watched and recorded every step of the way.
Related post here.