TAMPA, Fla. — Hillsborough County Schools will soon have a new layer of protection against intruders.
- Installation of Centegix Crisis Alert systems coming in next few weeks
- System in beta-testing on 3 campuses currently
- System purchased through state grant
- More Hillsborough County stories
The district has purchased cutting edge technology that will allow teachers and administrators to lock down their campuses faster than in recent years.
In the next few weeks, crews will begin installing the Centegix Crisis Alert System, which will enable staffers to notify students and faculty of an emergency on campus, regardless of where they are.
"This system empowers every teachers and every staff member to call for help in an emergency," said Superintendent Jeff Eakins.
The new system requires teachers to carry a small ID badge that's about the size of a credit card. That badge has a button that, once pressed, would issue verbal commands and set off flashing lights, alerting the campus that the building is on lockdown.
A crisis team member is then able to check an app on their mobile phones to determine where the emergency is on campus.
"Initially, in the event of a crisis situation, we would have to pick up the telephone, call the office," said Amber Cronin, principal of Pizzo Elementary School, who underwent training on the new technology. "The office would then have to call the lockdown."
"But this response is immediate," she went on. "It was really neat to see how all of the separate pieces would come together in the interest of student safety and security."
Hillsborough County Schools paid for Centegix through a $7.6 million state grant. The system is currently being beta-tested at three schools and will eventually expand to all 240 Hillsborough County School sites.