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Panic Buttons In NJ Schools Proposed By Essex Assemblyman

Democratic Assemblyman Ralph Caputo's plan would also install red emergency lights outside schools.

An Essex County Assemblyman has introduced a bill that would equip New Jersey public schools with a silent panic alarm that could be triggered in the event of an emergency, NJ101.5 reported.

Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, D-Belleville, said that it makes sense to link a panic button from schools to local law enforcement.

Caputo told 101.5 that legislators and police officers each support the bill.

LVMom January 13, 2013 at 03:37 AM
the preschool i taught at had them.. great idea, we also had code words and panic code announcements that no one would ever guess.
DMAB6395 January 13, 2013 at 03:47 AM
I like the idea. Having worked in a bank for 2 years, I felt safe knowing that I had a button right there to push in case anything happened. For those that knock it you should learn more about it before you rule it out. There were some people on here who think the kids will make false alarms, if you put it under the teacher's desk where their legs go but not where a leg could hit it like they do in the bank there will not be a problem, plus the fact you don't tell the kids where it is. With the right training which is not that hard to comprehend it would be a effective tool. It may not be the complete answer but it's a good start. Gun control will be the ideal answer but you should really learn more about this before you "pooh-pooh" it away
Ryan January 13, 2013 at 07:55 PM
If someone pulled a fire alarm during a time like in Sandy Hook then all the kids would be in the hallway and be in the line of fire. A silent panic alarm would just go to the police and maybe that alarm can call a code red internal over the loud speaker. I think it's a good idea.
Ryan January 13, 2013 at 07:59 PM
only problem with that is what if they deed to get out?
Ryan January 13, 2013 at 08:00 PM
how about doing something about the mentally unstable people in our country?
mrszzano January 13, 2013 at 08:42 PM
You make some valid points, Not Domino, but I would like to address a few. I work in an elementary school, and so I can only speak from that perspective, not middle or high school. c) Students using panic buttons for false alarms would not be as big a problem as you might think. The fire alarms are out in the open, and are rarely triggered falsely. How do we prevent false fire alarms? By educating kids as to the seriousness of a false alarm. d) Speaking of fire alarms, yes, they're already in place, and the noise might be beneficial. However, they are not everywhere. In the school where I work, they are located at the doors, which would require one to enter the hall (dangerous) and run some distance to activate the alarm. I'm thinking I might keep a book of matches in the drawer to light and hold under the heat/smoke detector. That would trigger the alarm a lot quicker. e) Of course, calling 911 is the best alternative, and even though most schools have phones in every classroom, some are merely intercoms, incapable of calling an outside number. Personally speaking, I'm not sure the phones in my building can get an outside line, and if they can, I don't know how to do it. In order for the police to know a 911 call was coming from a school, that call would have to be made from the school's phone number. I'm not dismissing your ideas; like I said, you make some very good points. I'm just thinking,"Well, what if..." and "Yeah, but...".
mrszzano January 13, 2013 at 08:52 PM
esther, I'm with you. Matthew, have you ever been in an emergency situation such as that? I wouldn't be so quick to criticize and/or mock the people who are trying to help... the police, fire, and EMT's. They would put their lives on the line any day to save lives, even nincompoops like you! And if you think the teachers and staff would be "cowering under their desks", you couldn't be more wrong! Grow up, and stop trying to put blame where it doesn't belong!
Edward P. Campbell January 14, 2013 at 12:45 AM
Someone doesn't know what he governs. Our 911 system already does that. All the schools need to do is program their phones to speed dial 911. Once a call is connect to 911, police are dispatched regardless if there is a caller on the other end or not! They also know it came from a school. Besides I don’t think the outcome at Sandy Hook would have been any different if they had a panic button or not. We need to spend our money and make laws that are effective. The absolute best way to do that now is to make all States a Must Issue State, not a Can Issue (which means NO) like here and in Ct. There is no magic; we can’t wave a magic wand and wish guns away. Also, limiting the amount of bullets a gun can use is as stupid as Bloomberg’s Big Soda Ban. Think about it!!!! It means if a shooter wants more ammo, he’ll have to carry more guns. That means if one of them malfunctions, then thanks to government regulations he’ll have a few others to fall back on. If Sandy Hook’s principal, or janitor had been armed, we may have been reading a story in the papers about a principal or janitor who saved a bunch of kids from a crazy man, instead of this tragic outcome!
mrszzano January 14, 2013 at 01:07 AM
@Ryan, I'm ashamed of myself for not realizing that the fire alarm would indeed bring everyone out into the hall. I've been through enough fire drills in 24 years...I should have known. Good thinking!
William Mays January 14, 2013 at 03:53 AM
I've seen schools with phones leading to the police department or emergency office in each classroom before. Private schools of course. Completely implementable in public schools.
DMAB6395 January 14, 2013 at 04:32 AM
Edwrard P. Campbell-since this idea was given to the Assemblyman by the POLICE I think they would know a better way for them to get there than anyone else.
Andy Schmidt January 14, 2013 at 03:01 PM
At our school, certain personnel carries alarm fobs to notify police. A generic 911 call might just be for someone requiring an ambulance after having been hurt during gym - activating the "panic" alarm fob will draw an entirely different response. Yes, the "fire alarm before/during active shooter" scenario needs to be thought through and practiced at schools.
Carl C January 14, 2013 at 03:35 PM
"principal shoots student (or students relative) after mistaking them for intruder" thats the headline you will see if we arm thousands of principals/ vice principals. i wouldnt take the NRA looking out for our protection too seriously, you know who spends millions to make it illegal to carry knives for personal protection... the NRA. and thats because they want people to spend their money on guns not knives. NRA doesnt care about your safety or your childs safety, they care about MONEY
Sick of the trolls January 14, 2013 at 03:39 PM
You know, for a guy calling himself "numbercruncher1," I have to wonder if you actually can do math. Which do you think will cost the taxpayer more: a panic button to the police station or an armed police officer patrolling the halls of every school in a district? Even arming the principal or vice principal will cost us money; money for training, money for more insurance, money because do you really think that an educator is going to take that kind of risk and responsibility without asking for (and deserving) more? So please, how does your argument that a panic button will cost too much jive with your plan to have armed personnel in the schools? Oh, and for the record, Columbine HAD an armed officer on the premises, for all the good that did.
Pete Mock January 14, 2013 at 03:55 PM
Many people have thought this through, so I'll go point by point... As a commenter below mentions, some schools now have staff members carry wireless alarm fobs to notify police in emergency situations. They require much less expense than a wired system (a), they work from anywhere in the building and on the school grounds (b), and having them connected to a staff member makes false alarms less of an issue (c). Some schools have had their old fire boxes disconnected, and those that still have those connections have aging and faulty systems (d). Unlike 911, a wireless panic button fob does not have to be located and then dialed, it can be triggered while on the move, it will get an instantaneous response from the police (no waiting for the operator to hear what's going on), the response would be appropriate for the emergency situation, and it would keep kids from the halls (e). Also, if one or more staff with a fob is incapacitated, there are others who can still trigger the alert. If you're a teacher or administrator your first thought in an emergency is to get the kids safe, and a wireless panic button allows them to get help in seconds so they can go directly to helping the kids. These kinds of shootings may not be entirely preventable, but considering the above, this system assures a fast, appropriate and reliable response in an emergency where every second counts. I too think it's a great idea.
Ridgewood Mom January 14, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Yes. And lock down procedures.
Ridgewood Mom January 14, 2013 at 04:38 PM
A person with a gun is not the only thing that will stop a person with a gun. In the case of a school or other large institutional building, solid brick walls with steel locks and a lock down system will also do the trick much neater. Accompany this with a panic button that alerts the police directly and you will have a safer environment then you would with people carrying guns around the school.
Ridgewood Mom January 14, 2013 at 04:40 PM
A good lock does system can be designed with emergency exit unlock mechanisms in place. The lock down process can be practiced simply, just as in a fire drill.
Ridgewood Mom January 14, 2013 at 09:57 PM
Sick of the trolls, The thing is that the money spent on panic buttons won't properly go where it rightfully belongs, in the pockets of the gun industry. :)
mrszzano January 14, 2013 at 11:13 PM
@ Pete Mock, wireless alarm fobs sound like the perfect solution - highly effective, child-proof, and easily activated. Combined with bullet-proof glass and lock-down drills, they would make me, as an educator, feel a lot safer. I'm sure most parents would agree.
Brian Hurrel January 15, 2013 at 01:11 AM
Having worked in urban schools for six years, I ccan say with some degree of certainty that the kids will know exactly where the buttons are within two days of the installation.
mmk January 15, 2013 at 02:39 AM
I can't believe how worried people are about the cost of possibly saving an innocent child's life!!! If we were talking about their material possessions then that would be a different story. Also the idea of armed vets or police is a double edged sword. I talked about this with my sons principal. Yes we would have someone who is trained to protect and serve...but who's to say they don't crack up one day and decide to take it out on our kids. I'm just sick to my stomach about all of this...it certainly isn't a fun time to be a parent.
Stacey January 15, 2013 at 02:41 PM
Good idea??!! Am I missing something? How would a panic button have prevented Adam Lanza from killing 26 people at Newtown school? C' mon people...THINK!
Tomasina Schwarz January 15, 2013 at 05:31 PM
Another dumb idea. This is the age of technology-teacher's (smart, cell) phones could just be permitted in the classroom. In many schools that I have visited, I notice that there are no working phones in the classroom, no way to contact the office except an antiquated lever that connects the teacher to the main office. If we don't have updated communication systems in the classroom already, how will a button help? So silly. This legislator obviously has no idea what the average classroom resources are and he must not have a cell phone.
A. Gideon January 15, 2013 at 10:37 PM
"Oh, and for the record, Columbine HAD an armed officer on the premises, for all the good that did." Another couple of facts for the mix: Lougher was stopped during a reload phase. One person grabbed the magazine; another hit him in the head with a chair. Had Lanza been forced to reload more often, there's a fair chance that the same fate would have overtaken him (given that some adults were killed heading toward rather than away from him). It's also noteworthy that one of the people that stopped Lougher was almost shot by some armed citizen coming to "help". ...Andrew
esther January 16, 2013 at 03:18 AM
Hey unfunded- you tell me - how much is one child's life worth?
I'd-Rather-Be-at-63 January 16, 2013 at 04:58 PM
Does this kind of discussion really benefit our children? Does it make them more secure? Or does this discussion simply not lead to more copy-cat irrational killings. We can all ensure our phones are able to speed-dial 911. We can give every administrator and every teacher a panic button. We can put a policeman or armed veteran or armed parent in every school, every classroom, on every corner. We can put bulletproof glass in all school doors and windows. We can put a police sub-station in front of every school with a huge sign: "Beware Crazy Shooters, Police!" None of these actions are likely to actually stop or even significantly deter an angry Montclair 16-year old armed with semi-automatic weapons, hand guns, and anything else dad and mom might have in the home arsenal to ensure their constitutional rights. We should reflect more on what kind of a society we want to live in and what kind of an environment we want our children to grow up in. Rather than investing in a culture of fear and militarism, monies that go to our schools should be used to teach our children to act responsibly, no matter how disjointed their week has been, no matter how angry they are.
esther January 17, 2013 at 01:26 AM
I am confused- 1. How much exactly is a child's life worth? 2. I am sure the district consults with a security company to determine best practice. 3. It cannot be a good idea for the best plan to be pulling a fire alarm with students pouring into hallways looking to escape running directly into an armed gunman or gunmen. As a matter of fact take a look at Columbine- that was the plan. 4. You pose too many questions - but your first one is the most troubling. I stand by mine. There is no price that I wouldn't spend to ensure my children's safety in our public school. NONE- ZERO. So you can ask as many questions as you want but to me- only my question is most important. What we need is problem solving.
Sick of the trolls January 17, 2013 at 02:01 AM
Oh dear. I have soiled myself again. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can avoid this but still maintain my high fiber diet?
Mary August 06, 2013 at 05:25 PM
Honestly, I can't see how much of a difference this would make. On the one hand, response time might increase, on the other, it may not and much needed funds would pay for this and not students' educations. I graduated from the Stuart Day Country School in Princeton and I can't remember if anything similar talks took place there, but I can see this as both a thing that would have made me fee safe as a student and alarmed me as a teenager.

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