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September 29, 2009

Schools embrace sex-offender scanners despite costs of this form of technocorrections

This article from today's Philadelphia Inquirer reports on the hottest new school accessory this fall:

The three mothers waiting to meet with the principal looked harmless enough, but before they were allowed into the Spring-Ford district school, they had to undergo a computerized background check. The women gave their driver's licenses to a secretary, who scanned them against a national sex-offender database....

So far, parents like it, administrators say, proof that after a decade marked by the Columbine massacres, the 9/11 attacks and high-profile child sex crimes, nothing may be "too much" when it comes to child security, regardless of the cost or intrusiveness.

"I never want to be the superintendent who has to tell a parent something happened to their kid," Spring-Ford superintendent Marsha Hurda said during a demonstration of the system, installed in 13 school buildings this year at a cost of about $1,500 each.

Raptor Technologies Inc., the Houston company that makes the system, said it's been installed in 6,000 schools nationwide since it was created seven years ago as a visitor-management system for Enron Corp. In addition to flagging sex offenders, the system manages the flow of visitors and keeps track of their whereabouts. It also alerts staff to parents who are involved in custody disputes or subject to restraining orders.

Visitors who clear the sex-offender registry are sent on their way and told to check out when they leave. But if there's a match, school administrators, and sometimes police, are notified. If there's a legitimate reason for the visit, such as a teacher conference, the visitor is allowed in with an escort. Participating in other school functions, such as volunteering in class or chaperoning a field trip, is generally not allowed.

"Even if you are a parent and are on one of these Megan's Law lists, you are not allowed to come in and freely visit our buildings," said Methacton School District superintendent Terry Quinn. Or, as Julie Mullin, a Spring-Ford Area School District board member and mother of seventh-grade twins, said, "I don't want them reading to my kid."

Interest in the scanners, and a half-dozen others from other companies, comes amid a growing national debate over whether the ever-swelling lists of registered sex offenders - 674,000 by the last estimate - are really that helpful or simply provide a false sense of security. The company says its software identified 1,700 convicted sex offenders at schools last year.

Civil libertarians note that from 80 to 90 percent of people who victimize children are someone the children already know, such as a parent, family friend or coach. "It certainly can be helpful," Kristen Anderson, a spokeswoman for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said of the technology, "but it's no substitute for good common-sense protocols and parenting."

Lauren Taylor, executive director of the Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders' Assessment Board, said the idea that a molester would wander into a school to harm a child is "a very unlikely scenario." It's more important to thoroughly vet those who come in close contact with children, such as teachers, health-care workers, and janitorial staff. "I'm not sure the bang for the buck is there," she said of the security devices.

September 29, 2009 at 07:01 PM | Permalink


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How about making visitors take off their shoes, and not allowing more than an ounce of fluid in a clear bottle? Just like at the airport. Millions of people have to humiliate themselves before low life government workers. The Supremacy was bitching about having his suitcases X-rayed to a gorgeous, chesty, blond young woman. She said, "That is nothing. They strip search me to my underwear every single time I fly." Thank the lawyer.

Instead of all this waiting, checking, stripping, how about getting rid of the terrorist lover lawyer. Then kill all the terrorists, and kill all the violent sex offenders. That way, you generate so much deterrence and trust, that ordinary people should be allowed to walk onto a plane carrying guns. The Supremacy does not want to get arrested or shot, so he quietly says to a man next to him, putting on his shoes, "This is bullshit." The reply? "Yeah. We should just nuke them and take their oil." The random, ordinary man in the US gets it. It is the freaks here who love the terrorist. Come the next terror attack, all accounts get settled with the lawyer traitor.

These lawyer ideas of basically paper work checking are worthless, ridiculous, unsafe remedies to anyone not totally lawyerized.

Only lawyerized American males would have allowed a bunch of filthy terrorists to take over a plane, especially after they started cutting the throats of stewardesses. 9/11 could never have happened on any foreign airline. The 9/11, a phony lawyer cover up, made no assessment of the treason of the lawyer profession.

No security inconveniences. No paper shuffling. All terrorists and violent offenders dead after age 14.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 29, 2009 11:03:09 PM

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