OLATHE, Kan. — School security experts remain on edge, as school violence continues to be an issue.
That includes one Kansas City-area school district, where plans include an elaborate new security system, in a district that saw school gun violence just four months ago.
Olathe Public Schools leaders will soon install Crisis Alert, an early warning system that sends urgent messages to students and staff via alerts to their mobile devices and computers.
Administrators said this school district is the first in Kansas to try Crisis Alert. $2 million in bond money is being used to pay for it.
The push of a button will trigger Crisis Alert. A video clip provided by that group’s parent company, which is based in Georgia, showed how alerts can be triggered via a button on a wearable badge.
Each staff member will be required to wear the badge. The tech company’s designers said it can be used to send out basic alerts, such as a crucial medical need, or a more serious call for help, like a dangerous threat inside a classroom.
“Whether that’s the principals, the nurses, the school resource officers, they will get an alert on their mobile device and on their desktop computer,” Brent Kiger, Olathe Public Schools director of safety services, said.
Kiger told FOX4 that the district was already working to acquire Crisis Alert before the March 4 incident at Olathe East High School, when Jaylon Elmore, 18, pulled a gun from his bag and shot an assistant principal. Elmore faces prison time for that incident. Fortunately, no one was killed.
“The way I look at this is — this badge and this button gives us a set of eyes for every staff member that we have. If they see something, they can say something strictly by pressing the button. I think that’s just going to empower our staff,” Kiger said.
Kiger said the system can also be enabled to alert first responders if they’re needed. The district wants this technology up and running by the time the fall semester begins for all students and teachers on August 12.
Parents FOX4 spoke with at Black Bob Park were encouraged to hear about this idea.
“You want to be able to get the access you need in the building as soon as possible. You can’t always prevent incidents from happening, but we’ve got to be able to react quickly to them,” Karin Nielsen, a parent from Johnson County, said.
“I think it’s wonderful. My wife is a teacher and every day she goes into school, I have to sit there and think — is today the day? Is something going to happen?” Jason Marciniak, also from Johnson County, said on Wednesday.