Kirksville Public Schools install panic buttons after Newtown shooting

Feb 14, 2013

Calling the police is now as easy as pushing a button in Kirksville Public Schools.

A day away from the two-month anniversary of a Newtown, Conn. shooting that left 20 elementary students and six teachers dead, Kirksville’s school board president Neal Chamberlain said he is more confident than ever in the safety at district schools.

“For a small community, I think we really are trying hard to provide a quality education for our kids," Chamberlain said. “One component of that is making sure we have safe places and good places for our kids to get that education.”

Kirksville is almost done installing panic buttons in all of its schools. These buttons make calling the police safer and more efficient, since they are hidden and don’t require dialing a phone number.

Chamberlain said the emergency buzzers add to a list of safety features already in place in the school district.

For example, schools have security cameras and share a student resource officer. Additionally, principals, assistant principals and teachers have to complete emergency training. Also, every door entrance at all schools is marked with a letter and a number so that responders can objectively locate points of reference on the outsides of buildings.

To add to the list, Pat Williams, superintendent of Kirksville schools, said the district is also installing more secure locks on the outside doors of preschools and elementary schools and may extend this security system to middle schools.

“I’m confident that given the culture and the equipment and the people we have in place that we can certainly do our best to help keep a safe environment for students and staff,” Williams said.

Kirksville High School had a scare Tuesday when a male student sent a death threat via text to a female student at the school.

Williams said although students were never in danger, the school did send mass texts to the parents as part of their enhanced security measure.