• 68°

School security enhanced: St. John public schools effort screens sex offenders

RESERVE — Security is tighter, and administrators hope that means schools are safer in the St. John the Baptist Parish Public School District.

Visitors to all schools in the District are now required to present a photo ID in an effort to screen sex offenders.

The new Raptor Technologies guest management system uses the ID to instantly check the sex offender registry for every state.

Superintendent Kevin George said no specific incident sparked the upgrade.

“We are constantly looking for ways to improve security on our campuses,” George said. “This is just one more tool we are using to keep our students safe.”

The guest management system allows front office personnel in each school to screen visitors to ensure registered sex offenders are not entering school buildings. The program began this week and is active on all campuses, George said.

School officials said the software does not check criminal history, which by law requires written consent of the individual and a qualifying reason for a criminal background check.

The guest management system does check a district-created list of individuals who should not be allowed on campus, school officials said.

“Unfortunately things happen and people commit certain acts that would make them unwelcome at our schools,” George said. “For example, this could be someone who previously created a disturbance on campus.”

According to school officials, the new system cost $20,000 for a three-year contract, which included materials, training and installation.