B-P school security beefed up

BROADALBIN — Anyone planning to visit the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District should expect to spend some extra time in any of the four main offices to the schools before being allowed to their destinations.

According to a news release, the district has installed a new Raptor visitor identification system in each building’s main office — the learning community, intermediate school, middle school and high school — and is requiring all visitors to be vetted through the system before they are allowed to enter the rest of the building.

The Raptor systems are part of an ongoing effort to improve the security and safety of Broadalbin-Perth schools.

“The Raptor is another layer of protection to keep the buildings secure,” said Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson.

When visitors enter the main office, they will need to present a form of government identification — driver’s license or permit, military ID, etc. — and insert their ID into the Raptor system. The system will scan the ID and a background check will be completed and will determine if the visitor be granted or denied access into the building.

An example of someone who might be denied access into the school building is someone who is a registered sex offender.

Tomlinson said they also have the right, with or without the Raptor system to keep someone out of the building if they feel that person poses a threat to the school.

“The Raptor system is a basic background check,” Tomlinson said. “If we feel the person might be unsafe, we do have the ability to keep them from the school.”

Office staff will be able to see the results from the scan on a computer. If approved, staff will create a dated visitor ID badge that must be worn while at the school and return the badge to the staff at the main office when leaving the school.

The visitors’ information will be stored locally, so returning visitors don’t have to scan their ID every time they go to the school. They will, however, have to give their name and wear a photo ID badge each time they are in the school.

“Our job and our responsibility is to always protect children, staff and visitors in the buildings,” Tomlinson said.

Through the capital project, schools will become even more secure. When construction is complete, each main office will feature a transaction window, and the instant background check process will be completed before visitors even enter the main office.

Other ways the district has been working to keep the school safe and secure is working with Safe Haven International, who are experts in school security and safety.

Tomlinson said over the summer, the agency conducted a risk and security assessment of the Broadalbin-Perth school and developed the best possible safety, security and emergency preparedness plan for the school.

Broadalbin-Perth is also one of three schools in support of Fulton County Sheriff Giardino’s grant for a school resource officer in school buildings.

The district has also hired a full-time, highly trained mental health counselor in response to security and safety issues. Tomlinson said the mental health counselor will be responsible for very specific instructions for any student who has any mental health concerns.

By Kerry Minor

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