Keeping our students safe

Dylan Panizo, Reporter

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For every 10,000 people in Illinois, there are 21.63 registered sex offenders, according to Reboot Illinois. This number is significantly higher than the 14.3 national average, which poses a safety threat to young people in Illinois and any institution that endorses the well being of children, such as schools and daycare.

U-High has taken measures to protect its students by installing new security procedures. The new system is called Raptor, a screening software for sex offenders. All personnel that come into the building must check into the office, and show a government issued ID that will be run through the software. If any red flags come up, the person will be escorted out of the building.

“It is really simple,” assistant principal Steve Evans said. “Basically, you don’t want anyone in the building, or in the vicinity of children, who is a registered sex offender.”

Many schools already have a similar system. Raptor is one of the many systems out there that screens sex offenders. There has been a recent movement on the ISU campus to protect minors. This movement stems from the Penn State University scandal with Jerry Sandusky.

“When this happened (Penn State incident), college campuses all over the country started paying more attention to minors on campus, and what possible risks they might be in,” superintendent Jeff Hill said.

There was no previous system in the lab schools to check for sex offenders. Other schools in the area such as Unit 5 are searching for a system, and Peoria District 150 uses Raptor. This system is very easy for the staff to use, and very easy for visitors.

“Visitors now have to wear a badge that is printed off by the system once they have been cleared,” John Larson said. “That is basically the only difference for visitors.”

The new system was put into effect on January 9th when school resumed after break. The only potential disadvantage of the system was the cost which was 5,000 dollars.

Raptor systems will only protect against convicted sex offenders, but it is a big step in the right direction to keeping students safe.

“The system is working,” Hill said. “But fortunately, no one has been flagged.”

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Keeping our students safe