Louisiana seeks feedback on silent alarm systems in an effort to improve school safety

Local News
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BATON ROUGE, La. – (5/17/19) The Louisiana Department of Education today released a Request for Information (RFI) regarding the use of silent alarm systems in schools as part of the state’s ongoing effort to enhance school safety and improve the ability of emergency response personnel to more effectively respond to school needs.
The RFI invites school leaders, emergency response experts, national organizations focused on school safety, and vendors of silent alarms to share feedback that can be used to help state and local leaders determine if the installation and use of silent alarms is feasible.
“As tragedies at schools have escalated, leaders in education, law enforcement, and emergency response have collaborated to strengthen preparedness and crisis management,” said State Superintendent John White. “Among those efforts, we have considered the use of new technologies, like systems that can quietly alert of an intrusion or emergency, that may prove beneficial in quickly and effectively responding to an active shooter situation. Every child and every educator deserves to feel safe in their classrooms, and it’s our duty to explore every avenue to ensure that’s possible.”
The release of the RFI follows a request from the Louisiana Legislature in 2018. During that regular session, the Louisiana State Senate passed a resolution urging the Department to study the feasibility and cost of installing silent alarms in all elementary and secondary school classrooms.
The Department responded with a preliminary report based on a scan of other state practices but concluded that additional research would be necessary to better understand how such systems work, the costs of installation and ongoing operations, and the feasibility of pursuing such systems for Louisiana schools.
The RFI is designed to capture this information by June 14. Upon review, that information will be shared with education leaders, lawmakers, and the Louisiana Blue Ribbon Commission on School Safety, assembled by Gov. John Bel Edwards last year.
“Student and teacher safety should be a top priority in Louisiana, and adding an additional layer of safety could be the protection needed to save their lives in the event of an emergency,” said Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, who sponsored the resolution. “Silent alarms, by simply pushing a button, can greatly reduce the time gap between someone recognizing a threat and receiving help from law enforcement. I look forward to reviewing the information received through the RFI and to supporting schools in enhancing their security.”

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