Mehlville unveils new security system that scans all school visitors’ driver’s licenses


By Gloria Lloyd
News Editor

The Mehlville School District will roll out a new security-screening system at all schools after Labor Day that requires visitors to show their driver’s licenses and wear visitor badges.

Upon entering a school building, visitors will be asked to present an ID, such as a driver’s license or other government-issued card. The ID will be passed through a scanner. Within a few seconds, the system, called the Raptor Management System, will check the visitor against the national database of registered sex offenders.

If visitors would like to check out a student, Raptor will also ensure the visitor is listed as a guardian in the district’s student information system.

The system prints out a visitor’s badge with the person’s driver’s license photo and name. The Raptor equipment cost $30,400 total for the equipment installed at all schools. It is used in districts nationwide, and locally in districts like Webster Groves.

“Student safety is our highest priority,” Superintendent Chris Gaines said in a news release. “The new system provides schools with a quick and efficient way to identify those who might present a danger to students.”

The new checks are part of the district’s three-pronged response this summer to ramp up school security. The district also added better cameras at the front doors of every school and paid the St. Louis County Police Department to park five police cars outside schools.

“Those are the three things that people would see, and then we’ve got a couple other things going on in the background,” Gaines told the Call.

Raptor systems were installed in Mehlville schools two weeks ago, and many schools have already started using them. All schools will be using Raptor as of Sept. 4. The process does not slow down the entry process at all and takes about the same amount of time as the previous way of registering visitors, signing a sign-in sheet, said spokeswoman Jessica Pupillo.

“It’s literally like pop it in, count to two, the ID popped back out and the secretary pressed the button to get my sticker. It was much faster than I anticipated it being,” she said.

If a person who wants to enter a school does not have a license or ID, the information can be manually entered.

The system also flags the person if they are, for example, a sex offender or involved in a custody battle for a child. The scan checks for crimes related to children, but would not alarm based on a more minor nonviolent crime like passing a bad check, Gaines said.

Visitors will be accompanied by a staff member, but known parents who are visiting their children will be allowed to walk to their child’s classroom.