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New Plano ISD Security Plan Includes Mobile Panic Buttons

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PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – Administrators in the Plano Independent School District have decided on a new plan to keep students safe in schools. While the human security presence will be increased the district is also taking a digital approach.

School districts across Texas and the country really began to take a hard look at their safety policies after the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 20 children and six adults dead.

Plano ISD associate superintendent Karla Oliver said part of the new security plan involves a special kind of panic button. “It is a general security measure, I would say, for many districts to have a panic button installed, maybe in their entryway or in their vestibule area where visitors would enter,” she explained. “This is a different approach that actually allows that to be mobile. If you see a threat or you see the potential of a threat you have it [the button] there onsite with you.”

Administrators in the Carroll ISD in Southlake decided to implement a similar security system on their campuses earlier this month.

Think of it like an ‘I’ve fallen and I can’t get up’ kind of panic button. Many of the devices are small enough to wear on a lanyard around your neck or on a key chain. The button uses GPS tracking and/or Wi-Fi signals to pinpoint the users exact campus location.

The panic buttons immediately transmit a signal, with the exact location of the emergency, to school officials and 911 operators.

Oliver said Plano ISD officials reached the security change decisions after careful consideration and study. “The entire nation has turned it’s attention to taking every reasonable and practical approach to [school] security, while always knowing that that is a great deal of trust that’s being placed in school district’s hands,” she said adding, “I think Plano has done a very, very good job of looking at every step that is reasonable, every step that is acceptable to parents.”

In addition to the new security measures, Plano ISD officials are also putting more people on patrol. “We are going to have resource officers at our campuses, as well as contracted peace officers,” Oliver said.

At least initially, the majority of school panic buttons will be issued at Plano elementary and early childhood campuses.

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