State legislature wants to improve school safety

Published: Apr. 3, 2023 at 6:11 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - In the wake of the deadly elementary school shooting in Nashville last week,  state legislatures across the country are moving forward with bills aiming to improve school safety. The additional funding would be put toward security technology such as Crisis Alert.

That system has already been implemented by the second largest school district in Kansas, Olathe public schools. The district implemented this system at the start of the school year, and they tell us they use it every day.

Last March, a student at Olathe East High School opened fire on the assistant principal and school resource officer.

”When we went through that incident in our district we were able to look through the lens of how we would have utilized the system if we had it in place,” says Brent Kiger, Safety Services Executive Director.

The system Kiger  is referring to is called Crisis Alert.

”It allows the folks that wear the badges to press the badge when they see a crisis and need help that beacon tells first responders their location on our campus,” says Kiger.

This type of technology is now being talked about across the country as state legislatures are ramping up bills that would require schools to have these systems in place.

”In our district, we’re ahead of the curve. We have the right infrastructure in place. We hope that day never happens but we prepare for it,” says Kiger.

In Missouri, the house of representatives just approved a 2024 budget with $50 million for school safety grants, on top of $20 million already authorized for school safety in the current year.

Installing crisis alert costs at least $8 thousand per campus under a three to five year contract.

It’s an investment Kiger says has empowered his staff  with rapid response times and peace of mind, giving every staff member the ability to put their campus on lockdown if they see an active shooter or imminent threat.

”It’s a priority for us. I can speak to our district, we believe in it and think it’s a good solution for our students and staff,” says Kiger.

The number of schools using Crisis Alert nearly doubled from 2021 to 2022.

In the metro, Blue Valley is another district that uses this system and there’s a handful of others considering it right now. Spring Hill school district is the most recent one that voted to implement the system.