CONTINUING COVERAGE: Cobb schools give teachers personal panic buttons

Anxiety about school safety has led one metro Atlanta school district to outfit high school employees with personal panic buttons.

The Cobb County School District claimed last year that it was the first in the state to try out the Alert Point product, a button on a badge-like communications card that teachers and other staffers can wear around their necks.

Now, every Cobb high school is getting the button system this school year, said schools Police Chief Ron Storey. Talking in a podcast this month, he said every Cobb school will have it within two years.

When a teacher, a custodian or any other staffer encounters a dangerous situation, all they have to do is push the button on their Alert Point, and a message will be sent instantly to the front office and to school police.

“The whole staff gets notified,” Storey said. “Even I get notified.”

The message comes with crucial information: the location of the button that got pushed. Help can be on the way within seconds, whereas a series of relayed phone calls could take minutes, he said.

Reaction time is crucial, whether in an active shooter situation like in Parkland, Fla. last school year or in a medical emergency.