Public Schools Installing ‘Panic Buttons’ Are Definitely A Sign Of The Times

shutterstock_123796153Public schools in Marietta, Georgia have added “panic buttons” as a response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary and our increasing nation-wide problem with violence in schools. Banks have long been using panic buttons to alert police to potentially dangerous situations in progress. Why not have them in schools?

Panic buttons will immediately place a call to 911 when pushed. “Once that happens, we send everybody we have to that school until we can determine what the exact cause of the threat is,” said Marietta police officer David Baldwin. According to a report by the Associated Press, once the button is pushed the schools go on lock-down with students locked inside their classrooms.

I think that anything that prepares teachers and students to deal with emergency situations is a good thing. As long as teachers and administrators are clearly trained in what constitutes a “panic” situation – I think the buttons are a good idea. If teachers ever face a horrifying situation like the one at Sandy Hook, why not make it as easy as possible for police to respond? Panic buttons are designed to be easily accessible and quick to use. Teachers and administrators won’t have to search for a phone to dial 911. That could save precious minutes in response time.

It would be interesting to know how much this will cost taxpayers. It has to be more cost efficient and sensible than having armed guards in schools, right? At least parents can rest assured that those responding to emergencies are trained police officers – not security guards (and in some cases, custodians) with guns.

I’m sure there are those that will claim that this is just instilling a false sense of security in a situation that can’t possibly be predicted or controlled. They might be right, but with the upward trend in violence on campuses across the country, I can certainly understand the desire to have easy access to responding officers.

(photo: soliman design/

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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    • Paul White

      We’ve had panic buttons at the place I work for at least a decade (well before I started there). I’m actually surprised they didn’t already have them in most schools.

    • Sara

      I think panic buttons in schools make a lot of sense, personally. I might even go a step farther and advocate for safe rooms, but I haven’t put a lot of thought into that.

      Panic buttons definitely make a lot more sense than arming teachers and custodians.

    • Helen Donovan

      This should prove interesting. Many of schools have had panic button for decades (all schools in a county, not just those in “tough” schools). The buttons went to the administration building. Some problems encountered included: students pushing the buttons as a prank; buttons malfunctioning/breaking and no money to repair them; and teachers pushing the buttons and no one responding (I’m guessing that this is not such an issue if it alerts 911 but I still wonder if this will be worth the headache.