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Sparta Board of Education Investigates Additional Security Technology

Jennifer Dericks

Monday, November 25, 2013 • 11:53am

SPARTA, NJ - The Board of Education continues to look for ways to increase school security. Superintendent Dennis Tobin and members of the board are investigating iris scanning devices and other technology that could be implemented at the entrance point of the schools.

The three different options currently being explored are SRI, Raptor Visitor and Fast Pass. 

Tobin, Karen Scott and Frank Favichia went to see a demonstration of the SRI system in Princeton.  The district will also host a demonstration at Sparta High School on Nov. 26 after school dismissal. Tobin has invited Mayor Gil Gibbs and Chief of Police Ernst Reigstad. 

The Raptor Visitor Technology systems are used in Vernon. Raptor offers technology that can screen visitors and do background checks on volunteers including screening for registered sex offenders. Tobin indicated he would be following up with Vernon school district get input about their experience with this system.

 

The third option is in use at Reverend Brown elementary school and Pope John XXIII High School.  Their system is called Fast Pass and employs a range of options including identification scanning so that visitors can be checked against sex offenders and criminal history databases along with other watch lists.

 It has not been made clear as to why there is a push for extra security.  Officials confirm, to their knowledge,  there have not been any additional threats to the schools.  Currently all buildings have a buzzer system where anyone seeking to enter must announce themselves to office personnel prior to being admitted.  Once the day has started all exterior doors are to be kept locked, leaving the only point of entrance the main or front door.  The way the schools are currently configured, anyone admitted by buzzing in is visible to the office staff upon entering.  All visitors must report to the office to sign in a receive a visitors badge before moving through the building.   

The board did not indicate the anticipated cost for any of these systems nor that there is funding in the budget to support their implementation.

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