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Local school district uses high-tech system to screen school visitors



UPPER ST. CLAIR, Pa. - School leaders at Upper St. Clair are very protective of their students.

For the past year, they have used a high-tech software technology called the Raptor system to monitor all visitors and vendors in their district.

"The whole idea of it is -- do you know who's in your building? We do know who's in our building at all times," said Lt. Joe Connors of the Upper St. Clair school police.

"Raptor's really given us another level of security, to let us know who's coming in the building," explained high school Principal Mike Ghilani.

Visitors walk in the main entrance where they are buzzed in and sent to another door where they are met by Corrin Lowry, the school security officer who operates Raptor.

Lowry scans each person’s driver’s license. The program then searches the national database for sex offenders.

At Upper St. Clair, they’ve added an additional data base that includes protection from abuse orders and custody issues.

Channel 11’s David Johnson wanted to see how the system works so he put it to the test.

When his license was scanned, his name came up as a sexual offender.

Lowry said that can happen when a person has a common name, so she then examines the pictures and addresses and makes a decision.

In David’s case, she could clearly see the person on the screen was not him.

"If I click ‘no’ it's not a match, Raptor, the system itself, also takes a look at that picture when I click no to make sure I didn't make a mistake," Lowry said.

No sex offender has tried to enter Upper St. Clair in the 14 months they've had Raptor, but Raptor has stopped 10,000 sex offenders from getting into schools nationwide.

It's being used in 8,000 schools, including 140 in Pennsylvania.

The basic system costs $1,600 in the first year per building, and then $480 per building annually.

School leaders say it’s money well spent.

"We like to say it's one more step that someone doesn't want to take if they want to come in and do something horrible," said Ghilani.