OUR VIEW: Emergency badges a proactive approach to emergency situations

Published 10:30 am Saturday, June 19, 2021

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In today’s newspaper, we wrote a story about a couple of purchases from the Troup County School System.

One of those purchases was an emergency alert badge system. Essentially, every employee would wear a badge on their lanyard and in an emergency could press the button to alert others that something was wrong. It could be that a child was injured on the playground or that a fight was occurring in a hallway. Even worse, it could be that an intruder had infiltrated the school in some way.

Some on social media have balked at the nearly $1 million price tag. TCSS plans to pay for the badge system via the American Rescue Plan, meaning this is being purchased with money the school system never even expected to have.

And while $1 million is a lot of money, we thought Board Member Joe Franklin summed it up best.

Franklin noted if these badges are ever needed in a true emergency, when student safety is in jeopardy, then $1 million won’t seem like much at all.

When something bad happens in a school, the general public always wants to know why more wasn’t done. Why hadn’t the school system been more proactive? Why did this happen or why did that happen?

In our minds, this is TCSS being proactive and trying to provide teachers peace of mind. It prevents having to run to find a phone or radio if a child breaks their arm during P.E.

The other purchase was an air quality control device, which serves a number of purposes. Its main focus is to prevent vaping or cigarette use in the school. Superintendent Brian Shumate said he’d talked to all 11 elementary school teachers in a virtual meeting at some point this year, and when he asked if they’d had a vaping incident at their school every single one of them raised their hand.

Vaping is a major problem throughout our country and also in our school system. These devices will be placed in bathrooms and alert faculty if someone is vaping or smoking. They will also go off for loud noises, such as gunshots. If a student is being bullied, they can be programmed to pick up on a specific code word.

TCSS is only putting these in two schools to get started, then will evaluate how well they work.

We thought both of these ideas were interesting ways to use new technology to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our local students.

The price tag may be higher than anyone would like, but it’s nothing when you consider student safety and wellbeing.