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St. Clairsville school district installing new security system

T-L Photo/CARRI GRAHAM The St. Clairsville-Richland City School District has installed a new security system that will help prevent unwanted visitors from entering the schools.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The St. Clairsville-Richland City School District has a new security system that will not immediately allow individuals with a criminal background into the facility.

Superintendent Walter Skaggs told members of the board of education Wednesday that the district installed the Raptor Emergency Management System in its buildings.

Anyone wishing to enter a school building must first scan their photo identification. The system will either blink green for entry or red, which will prohibit entry.

“If they have a sexual predator or some sort of background it flags, then it will come up on my phone, the principal’s phone, the secretary’s phone before they’re allowed to come in. It blinks red so we stop them at that point and they don’t get to enter the building,” he said.

If the system blinks green, a label will be printed out through the kiosk with the person’s photo, name and purpose for being inside the building.

“It’s limiting how we’re letting people into the building as much as possible,” Skaggs said.

The district purchased the entry system through a $10,000 safety grant, along with a notification system that was purchased for around $10,000 through another grant.

He said officials are working to implement the notification system, which should be up and running in the next week or so.

The notification system includes a one-touch application on Skaggs’ cellphone that can lock down the schools if an emergency situation were to occur. The app also sends out alerts to authorities, staff and parents notifying them of the lockdown.

“It also has emergency texts. I can contact 911. Everything is instantaneous on the phone,” he added.

Skaggs said they are also working to secure an $86,000 grant to purchase a new communications system for the schools. While holding the district’s annual active shooter drill – which involves multiple Belmont County entities and allows the staff and students to practice response to emergency situations – officials discovered the need to upgrade the system.

“It’s nice when we host these county-wide drills for safety because if there are glitches when the SWAT team comes … we can identify areas of weakness. One of the areas of weakness were dead zones in our building due to our radios not being strong enough, and we need an amplifier in certain areas,” he said.

The grant will allow the school district to purchase all new radios for personnel and a new amplification system. Skaggs said officials should know if they were able to secure the grant sometime this month.

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