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Stopped at the Door: Lincoln-Way High School D210 Boosts Security

The soon-to-be installed security system has a 911 panic button and conducts background checks on the spot.

In the wake of the horrific act of violence that occurred last month at Sandy Hook School, schools nationwide have been analyzing their security measures. While a shooting rampage is not something that can be controlled, schools can provide additional security measures that include several panic buttons to draw emergency response teams to the site within minutes.  

Before the month of January ends, Lincoln-Way High School District 210 will have a security management system featuring 911 panic buttons and the capability of screening visitors by running an instant nationwide background check. The database is updated regularly and identifies registered sex offenders as well as those with restraining orders. A visitor tracking system is included.

At a board workshop meeting Jan. 19 at Lincoln-Way Central High School, LWC Principal Steve Provis reviewed the basics of the program. For the last three years, D210 has been in the process of tightening its security system, said Provis, which includes mock lockdown procedures.  The board voted Jan. 10 to install RaptorWare, a web-based security system design that was launched in 2003.  

How it works  

The system, which costs about $8,000 for installation at all four schools, consists of "a doorbell with a cover right under the secretary's desk" in the front office and at the entrance to the aquatic center. "It's a panic button to 911, that's a direct 911 call" for emergency situations.  

On a daily basis, the system is designed to make sure that the visitors pose no danger for anyone on campus. No longer will visitors simply sign in at the front office during the school day, said Provis. They'll have to produce a driver's license or state ID that's scanned into a system where a nationwide background check is completed instantly. If someone has a ticket, that information can be manually typed in. Children under 16 will have to be with a parent, he said.

"If a hit comes up, a text (message) and email goes to the (on-site) Will County deputy and the administrators," explained Provis. That's a signal of a potential risk at the front office or the aquatics center, he said.

After the scan is completed, the visitor's photo will be taken and incorporated into a badge that identifies his or her precise destination and can track their whereabouts, Provis explained. The visitor is expected to turn in the badge before leaving the building. If they don't, said Provis, "we'll give them a call and ask them to return it." If the badge is not returned, it's invalidated within the system. In other words, he said, a person issued a badge one day would not be able to gain access on another day.   

The system allows the school district at a glance to know exactly who is in the building, Provis said.

Before ordering RaptorWare, Provis said D210 did some background checking itself. Lockport Township High School District 205 had already implemented the program and offered D210 a hands-on overview.

Supt. Lawrence Wyllie expressed his appreciation to Will County Sheriff Paul Kaupas for his input and assistance in regard to RaptorWare, a Houston-based company. The sheriff's department is an integral part of D210's overall security plan. For the last 10 years, each school has had a deputy on-site during the school day.

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David H January 22, 2013 at 05:22 AM
So what happens when during the day the students are being busses from campus to campus. The bus parks in the front and the children exit the building. What is stopping anyone from just going through the open door and into the main hallway. Nothing is stopping it. Buzz systems are only good if noone can open the doors once the campus is in session. Good start but think the whole process through.
Frankforter January 22, 2013 at 11:52 AM
Even if this were to be an effective system, is this in place at the doors by the Aquatic Center?
Charles Reasoner January 23, 2013 at 05:10 AM
I would be in favor of this *if* parents and/or legal guardians could have passes issued at the beginning of each school year that override the system. Perhaps that could be incorporated into a fingerprint verification. Other than parents, visitors should be screened and the school and the parents have a right to make sure that is done. This is a system that very well could prevent or at least minimize mass school killings. We have to make it harder for nut-jobs with military assault weapons to cut twenty Kindergarten kids in half with multiple rounds shot through their bodies.
JC January 23, 2013 at 06:42 PM
The park district with LWN uses the Aquatic Center entrance for park programs. Will all these folks need to be screened to participate in programs to allow access into the school? During events in the gym and auditorium will everyone need to be screened, grandparents, etc.?
John Petrosky January 29, 2013 at 10:40 PM
MY license has been scanned for some time at a New Lenox GRADE school....does this mean that my background has been "checked"??? While I have undergone this numerous times for various professional and personal activities, I have always KNOWN that it is happening (I presume). So are the grade schools already using this Raptor system? If not, seems like more "TSA theatre" as noted above. If so, shouldn't I have been told??? Also have to agree that there's as many holes in this system as Swiss cheese, i.e. after school activities, park district re-use, etc.

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