Monroe Public Schools has received a $41,880 grant from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to help install emergency response systems in local public schools. The new systems will decrease the time it takes for police and other first responders to react to incidents at schools and provide additional information to assist in their ability to help students and staff when those responders arrive.
The grant was part of a $7 million safety grant distribution to 80 school districts in Washington State. Monroe’s portion is going toward new systems to speed police response to incidents at schools and also improve communication that is so necessary in emergency situations. Grant funds are available as a result of Senate Bill 5197, passed in 2013. The intent of the bill was to encourage school districts to develop new emergency response systems using “evolving technology.”
John Mannix, Monroe schools’ Assistant Superintendent for Operations, described the district’s plans for the funding as “a countywide school panic button system, and a level of integration of the panic button system with Rapid Responder and our on-site video system.” The project is part of a countywide initiative supported by 9-1-1 agencies, police and sheriffs.
“Particularly in this day and age with the number of school emergencies on the rise it is our strong belief that being part of a standardized countywide approach provides significant advantages,” Mannix said “Integrating our solutions in terms of training, common protocols, and increased support by agencies will improve first responders’ ability to respond quickly and appropriately to our schools.”
The school panic button system Monroe plans to employ is made by Rave Mobile Safety. The Rave Panic Button app will be used by authorized school staff, and incorporated and integrated into the existing Rapid Responder system, ensuring that both 9-1-1 and first responders have access to critical real-time situational intelligence.
The school safety advisory committee coordinated with OSPI to develop grant criteria, then reviewed the applications and chose the grant recipients. They will also be working with the districts to install the emergency response systems funded by the grants.
“Student safety is a top priority,” State Superintendent Randy Dorn said. “We’ve all seen school tragedies play out across the country. While these projects won’t eliminate safety risks at our schools, they will help us be better prepared. Many of the emergency response systems funded by these grants are first-of-their-kind.”