ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — A bill introduced in Lansing aims to require panic alarms in every Michigan school building.
House Bill 4241 would require at least one alarm that can send a signal or message directly to police.
Steve Matthews, the superintendent of Rockford Public Schools, has questions about how a system like that would be implemented.
“If the panic button gets pushed does that bring one officer to the building? Does it bring a whole region of officers to the building?” Matthews said. “The questions that I have about this bill are how it would be implemented and how is the communication going to take place?”
Another bill proposes $6.7 million in funding to help cover some of the costs to set up a system.
“Where would the location of the panic button be? So, at our high school we have over 50 doors and so if somebody sneaks in the back, how is it communicated to the office for example, if the panic button is up at the office, that we need to press that panic button?” Matthews said.
Jason Russell, the founder and president of Secure Education, has concerns about whether a system like this would be effective.
“Really I think what it would boil down to is making sure if they are gonna implement something like that that the schools and the police have really clear processes,” Russell said. “I wouldn’t say that there is no value to it because obviously the faster you can get law enforcement to start responding, the better you’re going to be but I think for the cost and for the implementation I think there’s just better ways to solve this issue.”
If the proposal is approved, Matthews wonders what costs districts would encounter.
“Would the financial component of this bill pay for the entire cost of it or are there other ancillary costs that the district would have to pay for?” Russell said.
The bill remains under consideration and has not been voted on.