Panic buttons could be the norm in Texas schools thanks to funding and requirements set forth by the Texas Education Agency and Governor Greg Abbott in post-Uvalde Texas.
Other improvements to schools were named in the latest proposal, including requiring exterior numbering on school buildings, radio signal repeaters and lock boxes to hold master keys for police, according to WJAC. There's also outlined plans for weekly exterior door sweeps to make sure all doors can properly close and lock.
As far as the panic buttons go, some school districts have already implemented them, including Brackett ISD, located about two hours west of San Antonio. "Being a small, rural district, we felt like we needed a quick way to get assistance when needed," Superintendent Eliza Diaz told the news outlet.
Diaz added that she believes all school districts should require these panic buttons, but she's aware of the price tag it comes with. TEA has the funds to make it happen, though — there's a grant available that would help schools implement the panic button as part of the new proposal. Over $17 million has been set aside for this program as of June.
Here's a look at some of the requirements these panic buttons will have:
- Must allow an alert to be triggered manually by school staff
- Calls must automatically include 911 call, location of where alert was triggered and contact administrators and other staff who can also alert law enforcement
- Trigger doors to lock (if applicable)
While physical panic buttons can become very expensive very fast, the proposal includes virtual panic buttons through apps, which can also help in the event of a medical emergency or other incidents inside schools.
A public meeting regarding school safety standards is on the books for December 5 in Austin. Should the proposal pass public comment, it could go into effect as early as next year. For more details on the grants or panic button proposal, click here.