July 25, 2018 Winston: Students and teachers are evacuated during an active shooter training exercise held by the Douglas County Sheriff's Office at Mason Creek Middle School. The large-scale training drill tested the resources of area law enforcement and emergency responders to prepare Douglas County for a mass casualty active shooter event. It’s one of many strategies to address school safety. In Cobb County, high school staff have been outfitted with personal panic buttons. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton

CONTINUING COVERAGE: Cobb schools give teachers personal panic buttons

Anxiety about school safety has led one metro Atlanta school district to outfit high school employees with personal panic buttons.

The Cobb County School District claimed last year that it was the first in the state to try out the Alert Point product, a button on a badge-like communications card that teachers and other staffers can wear around their necks.

Now, every Cobb high school is getting the button system this school year, said schools Police Chief Ron Storey. Talking in a podcast this month, he said every Cobb school will have it within two years.

When a teacher, a custodian or any other staffer encounters a dangerous situation, all they have to do is push the button on their Alert Point, and a message will be sent instantly to the front office and to school police.

“The whole staff gets notified,” Storey said. “Even I get notified.”

The message comes with crucial information: the location of the button that got pushed. Help can be on the way within seconds, whereas a series of relayed phone calls could take minutes, he said.

Reaction time is crucial, whether in an active shooter situation like in Parkland, Fla. last school year or in a medical emergency.

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