Editorial: CrisisAlert system a good move for city schools

Members of the Dalton Board of Education recently approved $325,000 to install the CrisisAlert system from Centegix, an Atlanta-based company specializing in safety and security technology for schools, as a crisis management system.

With citizens correctly wanting to monitor and evaluate any governmental spending to make sure it is justified, this appears to be an expense worth undertaking, especially considering the numerous school shootings the nation has endured in recent years and an incident last year in which a Dalton High School teacher fired a shot in his empty classroom.

As Superintendent Tim Scott said, "Safety is first and foremost in all of our minds."

The new system is just the latest step school board members have authorized to make the schools as safe as possible. The board members have also approved funding for additional school resource officers and the installation of "intruder locks" on all classroom doors.

The CrisisAlert system revolves around badges that staff and administrators wear that are linked by wireless communication beacons. The badges can relay alerts from an employee to a designated response team at a school. Pressing a button on the badge three times signals an alert, and seven presses of the button in rapid succession can place the entire school under lockdown for more serious situations.

"It puts a tool in our hands so we can all be watchful for whatever comes our way," Roan School Principal Cindy Parrott said. "It provides the teachers that if they see a threat in any part of the school, they have a tool right there in their hands to alert everyone. We can respond, and it isn't just about an intruder. If a teacher presses this button three times, we know they need assistance. Once that button is activated, it sends alerts and we can track exactly where someone is and can get help to them."

"The (school) board has been really good about saying, 'You tell us how much this is going to cost and we will figure out if we can do it or not,'" said school system Director of Technology Stuart Davis.

That is good to hear. We commend the school board members for their efforts to safeguard our students, the teachers and staff that educate them, and the schools in general.

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