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Arizona school district to install panic alarms

PHOENIX — They may never be used, but one Arizona school district is installing panic alarms in the case of an emergency, such as a mass shooting.

“We take the safety of each child very, very seriously,” said Roger Jacks, superintendent of the Kingman Unified School District.

Jacks met with the local sheriff’s office and police department to discuss the immediate installation of two such alarms per school. If there is ever a threat or other emergency, there will be “a very immediate response to that school,” said Jacks.

The alarms will cost each school $50.

In addition to the alarms, the district has provided law enforcement officials with private parking spaces.

“They’re encouraged to come in, take a break, get a cup of coffee and just be in and around our schools more,” said Jacks.

A teacher within the district has proposed keeping classroom doors locked, however, a survey by the district suggested most teachers would consider the move too disruptive. It’s unlikely the school board would approve the idea.

John Huppenthal, state superintendent of public instruction, said the district’s plan is a good idea.

“Especially if the installation of ‘panic buttons’ for the notification of law enforcement can be used to complement a school’s comprehensive emergency preparedness plan, if determined so by the school safety team and its first responder partners.”