The Carroll Independent School District in north Texas is not messing around when it comes to safety this year.
In addition to having armed guards on every campus, the district is outfitting some teachers with domino-sized panic buttons. The company that makes the buttons, eTrak, announced the partnership in a press release Tuesday, one day after the new school year opened.
The panic buttons -– which include GPS tracking devices –- alert a regional dispatcher, who can warn a school resource officer that help is needed, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Teachers and staff can receive information about lockdown procedures through the button as well, reports THE Journal, an education technology magazine.
The buttons are part of the district’s #SAFEdragon initiative, which aims to increase campus safety. As part of the initiative, the district has been conducting background checks of volunteers, putting more fencing around school playgrounds, hiring police officers to guard every school and training staff members in safety measures, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
“We're excited in Carroll ISD to be partnering with eTrak to improve communications and our emergency response time in the event of a school crisis," said Julie Thannum, assistant superintendent for board and community relations, in a press release. "We believe the device is small enough to be worn comfortably and without much notice, while giving our employees a stronger sense of confidence that if they were to find themselves in a difficult or troublesome situation, they could reach out instantly for help."
The safety initiative came about as a direct result of the Sandy Hook elementary school mass shooting in December.
“It builds the trust,” police Chief Stephen Mylett told the Forth Worth Star-Telegram last month. “It builds the relations. It helps alleviate that fear that we experienced following Sandy Hook.”
The eTrak button was originally designed for caregivers who needed to keep track of the whereabouts of special needs children and Alzheimer’s patients.