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Marion County Schools consider software update to identify sex offenders on school property

By Jack Walker, Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Coming expansions to facial recognition software in Marion County Schools aim to notify administrators when a registered sex offender sets foot on school property.

Rank One Computing, a Colorado-based company that specializes in facial recognition technology, plans to add the function to current services already in place in Marion County Schools by cross-referencing photos of school visitors with photos pulled from the West Virginia State Police’s sex offender registry.

Earlier this year, Rank One partnered with the Marion County Board of Education to implement facial recognition technology at entryways to all public schools in Marion County, beginning with West Fairmont Middle School. Marion County was the first in West Virginia to implement facial recognition security measures at school entrances.

Other functions under development by Rank One will also enable school administrators who oversee school security to identify the license plates of vehicles on school property, and flag them when an individual enters school facilities with unknown or potentially dangerous items.

The new functions that could be rolled out in Marion County Schools were shared with members of the Marion County Board of Education at their meeting Monday evening. School Superintendent Donna Heston described the software, and Marion County’s role in supporting its growth, as “something to be proud of.”

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