School year starts with more safety upgrades

Buildings have high-tech security systems to screen visitors, protect staff, students
By 
JOE POIRIER
Ozaukee Press Staff

As Grafton School District students head back to class this week, they are finding a number of security upgrades added to buildings.

During the Aug. 27 School Board meeting, Supt. Jeff Nelson said security cameras, programmable door access controls, threat level buttons, interior push-button door locks and fire system upgrades have been added to schools. The total cost of $392,131 was funded by the 2017 school facilities referendum.

The most notable security upgrade to all schools is the installation of a Raptor Technologies integrated safety system, which allows staff to check in and monitor visitors. The system was financed by a Wisconsin Department of Justice school safety grant last fall.

John Long Middle School Associate Principal Doug Arendt said visitors will only be able to access the building through the main entrance during the school day. All other entrances will be locked.

Visitors will have their driver license scanned by the Raptor system, which will conduct a background check to identify if the visitor is a registered sex offender. Raptor can also be customized for other background information, such as parental custody issues.

“The office staff doesn’t have to know that off the top of their head because Raptor will tell them,” Arendt said.

When a visitor is cleared to enter the school, Raptor will print out a picture ID listing where the visitor can be in the building. If a visitor doesn’t have an ID, staff can manually enter the individual’s name into the database.

If there is a confrontation at the main office, Raptor software includes emergency protocols that can notify an administrator about a disgruntled visitor or the Grafton Police Department for an active threat.

During the meeting, board members said that while Raptor will be useful for the school day, it may not be practical to check in every person attending a sporting event, concert or play.

Nelson said there will be more discussion to develop a protocol for events outside of class.

The Raptor system can also catalog visitors to keep track of how often they are at the schools and the reasons behind their visits.

John Long Middle School Principal Kevin Deering said exterior doors at each school will be programmed around school times. Only certain entrances will be unlocked before and after school to ensure controlled points of entry.

“We will have an adult staff member manning those doors,” he said.

Nelson said Buildings and Grounds Director Jamie Scofield recently completed a safety assessment training and will be state-certified to conduct assessments for Grafton schools.

The district is applying for a $117,487 U.S. Department of Justice school safety grant. If the grant is approved, it would fund additional safety glass, security treatments for windows and other safety upgrades.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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