Blue Valley teachers now wearing emergency alert buttons for classroom safety

Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 5:47 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 4, 2023 at 1:34 PM CST
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JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. (KCTV) - Blue Valley School District teachers and staff are now equipped to respond to emergencies faster, using an alert system Olathe Schools implemented earlier this school year.

A CrisisAlert badge will be worn every day by teachers and staff to call for help by simply pressing the button three times.

“Our buildings are huge and so you may be at one end of the building and not have a phone around you,” said Blue Valley School District Superintendent Dr. Tonya Merrigan.

The system allows teachers and staff to press the button on their badge three times to alert administrators, school resource officers, and school nurses to an emergency. An entire school can go on lockdown, if need be, with just eight button presses.

“Times have changed since I started my career 30 years ago and we need to be able to empower anybody in the building who sees something suspicious to notify us.”

Olathe Schools implemented this program following a school shooting at Olathe East High School in March last year.

Merrigan said their superintendent was the one to introduce her to this innovative safety-alert system a few months back. She had a team investigate the program and felt it was needed.

“It was exactly what we were looking for. Again, this is not something that you say is going to just make us 100% safe, but it’s another layer of the security that we want to provide to our students and our staff.”

The programs are set – as students and teachers walk the halls again following the winter break.

She said, “This will be utilized beginning [Wednesday] in our schools for the foreseeable future.

Teachers and staff will not have their locations tracked while wearing the device. The technology only tracks their location once they hit the button three times.

Centegix, who creates these buttons, said on their website that the technology determines the location of the alert down to the individual floor and room, so first responders know where exactly where they need to go.

This is the same alert system implemented at Olathe School District last year. Olathe schools implemented these same buttons for teachers back in August following a school shooting at Olathe East High School in March 2022.

That’s the extreme instance, but it could also be used for a child hurt on the playground or a teacher having chest pains, as examples.

The tool does not track teachers’ and staff’s movements throughout the day.