In an attempt to protect students from shootings, Florida is considering a bill to require installation of panic alarms in all public school classrooms (“Florida Considers Panic Alarms for Schools to Respond to Shootings,” The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 13, 2020). The silent alarms would transmit information to 911 dispatchers about the location of the caller.
But this is a little like closing the barn door after the cow has escaped. I say that because it will still take far too much time for police to arrive. In fact, armed security officers on campus have not been sufficient to protect students. That’s why critics have proposed allowing teachers to be armed as long as they have undergone sufficient training.
Shootings on campus take place too fast to rely on external force. Yes, it sounds reassuring to have panic buttons in every classroom, but it is a comforting delusion that it will make a difference.
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4 Replies to “Panic buttons in schools”
And, America remains in thrall to a worshipped by many outdated Second Amendment which in our modern times has allowed any person access to the most lethal weapon ever created for individual people, the gun.
That our schools, where little kids and big go to theoretically be educated, we have to worry about them now being shot, maybe by a non crazy friend who to settle a score brings a gun to school. It’s not unlikely because it’s happened.
What a foolish country we are.
Obvious problem with the proposed panic alarms — students hitting the alarms as a goof, causing local police SWAT teams to arrive at the school primed to shoot. To be useful at all, the proposed panic alarms would have to be easily accessed and easily activated by any student — like an exposed push button. Not behind a glass window with a “break in emergency” label or even a plastic hood with a “flip hood in emergency” label. Seems like an irresistible temptation for the bored middle-school kid who wants to stir things up a bit (or wants to avoid the 5th period math test) + probably no way to prove after the fact who pushed the button.
dkhatt: Only in the US are guns such a problem. Arming teachers will do little to help, despite the case made for that practice.
Labor Lawyer: You’re quite right. Students will hit the panic button as a prank, resulting in police confusion about whether they should respond.