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Broken Arrow senator proposes bill to make panic buttons available in every school

Posted at 9:43 PM, Jan 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-28 23:17:09-05

BIXBY, Okla. — Teachers tell us in the back of their minds, they always fear the worst case situation.

"I find myself looking around my own classroom trying to think through scenarios and what would I do in a certain situation. I have wasp spray in various places throughout my classroom, I read that in an article once and thought "you know, that's a good thing to have around," North Intermediate School teacher Jessica Jernegan said.

This session lawmakers will consider Senate Bill 267, which would create a system for schools to implement a button by geocoordinates, text message or application to immediately reach first responders.

"We want to make sure that people are informed quickly so that we can respond quickly because the faster we can respond in a life or death situation, the higher likelihood there is that it will result in a positive way and we can save lives," state senator Nathan Dahm said.

Educators said their biggest concern is funding, because they don't want to make the choice between keeping students safe and their ability to learn.

"I don't think it, by itself, is the solution. There have been schools that have had similar systems and incidents still happened. There isn't one cure that will resolve these issues," Bixby Public Schools superintendent Rob Miller said.

Bixby's superintendent helped launch the CrisisGo app with a similar button at Sand Springs before changing districts last year, but said that was made possible through a city grant. The application cost $30 per employee a year, totally close to $24,000 annually.

Senator Dahm said the bill would start the process until funding becomes available through grants or legislative appropriation.

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