OLATHE, Kan. (KCTV) – When school starts next week in Olathe, staff will receive training on a new safety technology that uses a badge-style badge to summon help with the push of a button.
A shooting at Olathe East High School in March left many parents and children concerned. At a community meeting, some asked about metal detectors. The district opted for intrusive interventions like that.
Instead, they will equip all staff with something called CrisisAlert. In a presentation to the school board Thursday night, district administration said Security Services Director Brent Kiger began investigating the product late last year. That was before the shooting.
This is a badge intended to be worn daily under the staff identification badge. On one side there is a recessed button. Pressing it three times summons administrators, school resource officers, and school nurses with the exact location of the emergency. It could be a fight or a medical emergency.
Staff are being trained on the system now. The intention is for them to use it frequently, for incidents large and small.
“Whether a staff member has chest pains, they can hit the button three times and help is on the way. The student gets hurt on the playground, the teacher can hit the button three times and help is on the way,” said Assistant Superintendent of Safety Services Dr. Jim McMullen.
No more sending someone down the hall for help.
The system also has an option to activate a lock. That involves pressing the button eight times. It sends an alert to all computer screens in the building and activates strobe lights in hallways and a recorded announcement to close doors, turn off lights, and stay out of sight.
“This is really the first time that we are essentially training all of our staff members so that if they see something of a critical nature, a critical threat, they can notify everyone in the building — students and staff — that there is a real threat here. and we need to get behind a locked door,” Kiger said.
The board approved the spending at the beginning of the school year. Most of the funding comes from a bond approved by voters in the spring. District spokeswoman Becky Grubaugh said the district also got a grant from the State Department of Education to offset some of the initial cost.
A board member said some of the staff were worried about being tracked. McMullen clarified that tracking only kicks in when the button is pressed and the alert is active. He added that it only operates inside school district buildings.
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