Local school district installs technology to better screen and track visitors

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — One local school district is taking new steps to better screen and track visitors to the district.

Safety and security remains a top priority for schools. With this in mind, the Cleveland Hill School District in Cheektowaga is now instantly screening visitors to try to reduce risks to students and staff.

“I think it’s important because we need to manage volunteers that are coming in, we need to manage parents that are coming in, staff contractors there are a lot of building projects that are going on so just having an idea of who is in the building,” said Dave Evans, assistant superintendent of Cleveland Hill schools.

Starting this week, when visitors check in at any district building, they’ll present identification that will then be put into a screening device from Raptor Technologies.

Instantly, visitors will be checked to see if they’re on any Sex Offender Registry. The Raptor devices don’t check to see if you have a criminal record.

“It has no criminal component to it, so it’s not looking at arrest records, it’s not looking at warrants, the only thing it can look at is the Sex Offender Registry,”

If they’re cleared to enter, you’ll get a sticker badge and will have to sign out at the same entrance you came in. Cleve-Hill schools says they have not had a security breach and that safety is a top priority.

Many schools have boosted security in recent years.

“Safety is paramount and this system won’t address that that we rely on the relationships we’ve built with our students, families and the community, our teachers, our vigilance on being aware of what’s going on in the building,” Evans said.

Starting next month, visitors to Cleveland Hill Schools who don’t have ID won’t be allowed in.

The Raptor devices, which are being used at many schools, are pretty affordable considering a school district’s budget. The devices in total cost about $5,000 for Cleve-Hill. Some may have privacy concerns over this technology, but the device only screens for Sex Offender Registry data and not any other personal information.

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Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.

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