Written by: Cydney Contreras
In the Inland Empire, new technologies are being used to protect students and staff. These new technologies include security systems that screen visitors for any potential threats and prevent sex offenders from entering the campus. While not utilized district wide, many schools’ parent-teacher organizations are footing the bill to make their campuses a safer place for students to attend.
Schools for all grade levels such as Murrieta Valley High School have begun to employ technological systems from companies such as Raptor Technologies, to scan visitors and remember where the visitors are going in case of emergencies. Depending on the system, a visitor can be screened for sexual offenses, custody issues and other potentially concerning threats. All systems feature a virtual log of who is on campus and where, which is helpful for fire drills and emergency situations.
The price of these systems vary based on the features included in the program, such as visitor tracking and security alerts to local authorities. Since the programs have not been initiated district wide, schools are currently relying on their discretionary funds or on parent-teacher associations to provide the funds and pay for the fees. For example, in Murrieta, Cole Canyon Elementary pays for the $5,000 annual fees via the parent-teacher club according to their school representative Karen Parris, the public information officer from Murrieta Valley Unified School District .
Schools in the system claim that the implementation of these new systems is not in response to any single event or any of the mass shootings across the United States, but is a precaution made to ensure the safety of their students. Parris explained, “The systems are meant to be a deterrent for anyone who wishes to come on campus without a legitimate reason.” In the case of some schools, the parent-teacher clubs took the initiative to research these new methods of security and raised the funds to purchase the systems themselves.
Since the schools have only just begun to integrate these programs into their security protocol, it is too soon to say whether these systems are beneficial. Parris noted that, “The systems are relatively recent additions at the schools so it is probably too early to know what impact they will have over time.”
Raptor Technologies, Hero K12 and LobbyGuard Solutions are only a few of the companies that have begun to supply these new technologies to schools. In addition to the Inland Empire, they have signed contracts with Irvine schools as well as schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District.