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Panic Buttons Could Be Required in Texas Schools, Grant Applications Open Until December

In the News

This article originally appeared on CBS Austin. To view the original article, click here.

AUSTIN, Texas — Silent Panic Alert Technology is gaining traction after the tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde five months ago. Since then, state leaders have made several changes aimed at preventing more tragedies. Panic buttons are now on the list of proposed safety rules at Texas schools.

In the wake of the tragic mass shooting, the Texas legislature and Governor Greg Abbott authorized $17 million to create a grant for schools to buy and install panic alarm systems.

Panic button technology for schools is really about expediting and streamlining emergency response by allowing the teachers and the staff to initiate an emergency directly through to 911,” said David Rogers, Chief Marketing Officer at Raptor Technologies.

Rogers said about 25 percent of schools in the state are already using the technology.

“Really, these panic alerts are just one piece of many layers of security that you have to put in place,” he said.

With a push of the panic button, critical information will go to first responders and campus officials to alert them of an emergency. It will put the school on lockdown, giving teachers and students time to find their safe spot away from any threat.

“People are looking at it and people are feeling it not only in the State of Texas but they’re feeling it around the country,” Hutto Police Chief, Jeffrey Yarborough said.

Yarborough believes people are at the point where they’re saying “no more.” After serving as Round Rock ISD police chief he said these solutions are needed as safety and security technology keeps evolving.

“With each unfortunate and horrific tragedy, the outcomes from that are opportunities to make sure we get to a point where we’re truly creating the safest learning environment for our students and our staff and our visitors,” Yarborough said.

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is looking at proposals that could require schools to install silent panic alarms and automatic locks on exterior doors. If the proposed safety rules are approved by the TEA, those measures could start in 2023. Public comments will be collected before the end of this year. School districts across the state already know how much they’ve been given for the grant.

Silent Panic Alert Technology Allocation in CBS Austin viewing area:

  • AUSTIN ISD $234,274
  • BARTLETT ISD $1,905
  • BASTROP ISD $26,665
  • BLANCO ISD $5,714
  • BURNET CISD $11,428
  • DEL VALLE ISD $26,665
  • EANES ISD $19,047
  • ELGIN ISD $15,237
  • FLATONIA ISD $5,714
  • FLORENCE ISD $7,619
  • GEORGETOWN ISD $39,998
  • GIDDINGS ISD $7,619
  • GRANGER ISD $1,905
  • HAYS CISD $47,617
  • HUTTO ISD $22,856
  • JARRELL ISD $9,523
  • LA GRANGE ISD $5,714
  • LAGO VISTA ISD $7,619
  • LAKE TRAVIS ISD $20,951
  • LEANDER ISD $87,615
  • LIBERTY HILL ISD $20,951
  • LLANO ISD $7,619
  • LOCKHART ISD $17,142
  • LULING ISD $5,714
  • MANOR ISD $28,570
  • MARBLE FALLS ISD $13,333
  • ROUND ROCK ISD $108,566
  • SAN MARCOS CISD $20,951
  • TAYLOR ISD $13,333
  • THORNDALE ISD $5,714
  • THRALL ISD $5,714
  • WIMBERLEY ISD $7,619

“We are overwhelmed with orders right now. There’s a lot of schools that have been waiting for this grant since it was announced back in June,” Rogers said.

The deadline to apply for the Silent Panic Alert Technology grant is Dec. 12.