Teachers carry mobile panic buttons at Jackson school - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Teachers carry mobile panic buttons at Jackson school

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JACKSON, MO (KFVS) - In the wake of school shootings over the past year or so, many districts across the country are beefing up security measures.

Jackson R-2 led the way by installing what's commonly referred to as panic buttons, but one Jackson school is taking that proactive measure a step further.

Panic buttons are a direct link between school administrators and local law enforcement.

But they're typically installed in one place and it's a matter of someone getting to that button.

To make that concept mobile, teachers at St. Paul Lutheran School now carry one on a lanyard around their neck.

"We want to be able to respond and that's what this allows us to do," said St. Paul Lutheran Principal Tim Mirly. "It gives us a more immediate response, and the more immediate the response, the more effective you can be at keeping people safe"

When students hear the siren they know exactly how to react.

"We have a lot of drills so it's mostly routine," said 5th grader Luke Mirly. "And we just know what to do. It's just like we don't really think about it. We just know what to do."

In the event of a threat to students' safety, teachers now carry a mobile panic button around their neck.

It has two alert levels.

By pressing the button once, it alerts the office of a potentially dangerous situation without activating the alarm.

When teachers press the button for 10 seconds the sirens go off and the school is on lockdown.

While the sound may stir unwanted thoughts of a possible threat, "well sometimes it's kind of scary just in case that would ever happen," said 5th grader Maddox Murphy. "But we always know that we have to line up and everything."

And, 5th grader Alexie McDonald said it lets her know, "that I'm safe and I know that I'm protected."

Principal Tim Mirly says this first step to a more secure campus is relatively affordable at around $5,000.

But the other steps, including secure entry and an upgrade to their video surveillance system, will take time and be a result of fundraising efforts.

"It's a community wide effort to make sure that students in Jackson are well taken care of and protected," said Principal Mirly. "The police department has been very much involved in that whole process and provided us with additional equipment. We can contact and communicate with local law enforcement very quickly and have people on campus. Again, it's making that response time more effective."

While students have learned about the new system, parents don't know the ins and outs just yet.

A meeting on February 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria will help inform parents and walk them through the process for what's already installed and the steps to come in the future once more funding is available.

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