MARTINEZ, Calif. – Martinez Unified School District discussed a staff proposal to purchase a Raptor Security Identification system. It scans a photo ID of persons visiting a school campus, including contractors. Then, according to David Wildy, who researched these systems, it does a sex offender and child custody background check, and prints an ID badge that can be scanned upon entry to the school grounds.
Parents and volunteers for school trips may clear themselves online in advance by printing out a badge before they come to school. The badges are scanned upon entry.
Superintendent of Schools CJ Cammack said they are timely because the system checks custody permission records previously entered by school staff again, at the moment of entry.
MUSD already checks on volunteers and requires fingerprints for people who will go on overnight field trips with students. The fingerprints will still be required for those trips, even if the district buys the Raptor system.
The initial cost is $13,000 and there is an annual cost of about $3,000 to keep it going.
Cammack said about 150 school districts are using it, naming many in the Los Angeles area. Wiley said Pleasanton, Lafayette school districts have acquired the system.
After the meeting when asked whether the district had experienced any problems or incidences of the kind they hope to avoid, he said, “No. It is just another layer of protection we can provide.”
Board trustee Kathi McLaughlin asked if such a system might stop some people, who do not have a photo ID from volunteering, undocumented people in particular. She asked if there had been any negative feedback at the two districts Bay Area districts that have the system.
Wiley reported there was no negative response from Pleasanton, and the Lafayette system is so new, he has no information on that.
McLaughlin noted that the student population in those districts may not be comparable to Martinez. Wiley responded by saying, “The identification information can be entered manually.”
Board President Deidre Siguenza said McLaughlin’s concerns are “well-founded.” “We need to explore that,” she remarked.
Jonathon Wright, trustee asked if other vendors had been considered. Wiley said there were two other companies he investigated and both were more expensive, by a few thousand dollars.
Alhambra High School Office Manager Karin Sloper said she likes the idea. A card swipe would be better because sometimes she is pulled away from the front desk by other situations. “There is just not enough of us to be sure the kids are safe,” she remarked.
The board is expected to vote on the purchase at the next meeting. The meetings for November have been changed to the first, and third Monday of the month, but there may not be a quorum for the first meeting due to potential scheduling conflicts. It would be best to confirm the meeting is going ahead on Nov. 4.
Alhambra High School began offering a Stagecraft class this fall and was immediately filled to capacity. The Martinez Unified School District Board just gave final approval for the new Theater Arts and Stage Production class at the Oct. 28, meeting.
It is fashioned after a similar, successful class at Acalanes High School in Lafayette, and another at Las Lomas High School n Walnut Creek.
Amy Black, director of Education Services, reported the MUSD Theater Arts and Stage Production class is working on building the sets, sound, and lighting for the production of “Guys and Dolls” for spring.
In other business, more stringent rules for residency verifications of district students was approved by the board, and so was Black’s submission of the Dashboard Local Indicators report to be submitted to the California State Department of Education before Nov. 1, 2019.
The Dashboard report tells how the district is making progress toward its local goals, using seven categories or indicators, such as basic services, implementing state academic standards, parent engagement, the school climates and offering broad course of study, including AP classes.
The report will be posted on the California Department of Education in early December and Black will give a formal report to the board subsequent to that.
At the same meeting, one parent praised the new state policy of later start times for schools. Craig Lazzeretti said a class his son needs is only offered at 7:30 a.m. and he hopes the district will adopt the new policy as soon as possible. He agreed with reports that students are adversely affected by a loss of sleep due to early school start times.