JONESBORO — Clayton County Public Schools is adding another layer of safety to the district’s 66 campuses.
Starting in January, CCPS will begin installing a Crisis Alert System throughout the district. The system will supply all school faculty with an alert badge that can call for help in real time in the event of an injured or sick student, class disruption or active shooter.
The alerts will be communicated throughout the building using light beacons inside and via the intercom system. The beacons will use different color lights to indicate the nature of the call. Faculty will be able to pinpoint the exact location of the call in the building.
The school district entered into a one-year contract with Centegix, an Atlanta-based technology company, with four one-year renewal options. The total cost is $1.4 million which will be paid using the Georgia Department of Education’s safety grant.
The price tag includes all equipment, installation and training for every campus in the district and badges for nearly 7,000 employees. The equipment will be owned by the district; however, Centegix will be responsible for the maintenance and up keep.
Thomas Trawick, chief of safety and security, called the system “phenomenal.”
“We’re moving the district in a positive way,” he said. “This will help keep students safe. We will know exactly where you are and our response will be a lot faster.”
District staff, school faculty and students will be trained on the new system via films, drills and practice.
Trawick said reports generated by the Crisis Alert System will allow staff to identify where shortfalls occur and correct them.
“This is a holistic approach — to train, educate and prepare for any situation,” Trawick said. “We’re only as good as the knowledge of those who will use it. We want everyone, including our students, to know what to do in the event of an emergency or active shooter.”
Additionally, the system will work in tandem with the Raptor program used by teachers to identify and track students in their classes. Trawick said it’s used when something like an evacuation is necessary.
“It identifies where students are and who can pick them up from school. It helps get kids back to the adults they should be with at the reunification locations,” he said.
Trawick said the merging of technologies gives a “full solution” to school safety.
“Reality is upon us,” Trawick said. “I take this job personally. All these folks belong to me while they’re here, and it’s my job to make sure everyone gets home.”
Installation will begin in pilot schools around the county to work out any kinks in the system. By April, the system will be in every school.
Trawick said between training, practice and drills, which will include the parents, he hopes it will help to remove some of the panic in the event of a situation.
“The fear will be there, but everyone will know exactly what to do and where to be. It’s what we have to do to keep everyone safe,” Trawick said.