Protecting the Pack

New identification badges implemented in the district

Incidents surrounding schools have become more common within the past few years. This has resulted in security improvements in schools across the nation and Blue Valley was one of the latest districts to receive this technology. The upgrades began in the summer and have continued throughout the winter season with the new badge system being the latest measure implemented. Activities director Mallory Huseman said that when the button is pressed, the school response team is notified through their cell phone. 

“Initially, the company came out and set up the little beacons and the Bluetooth connections throughout the building,” Huseman said. “And when you hit the button three times it sends a message, an alert to the beacon that notifies administrators and our SROs.”

The button is located on the backside of the teacher badges with two different modes that can be activated. One is a three-button push that is used for medical emergencies and the other is an eight-button push that initiates a schoolwide lockdown. 

“If a teacher sees something suspicious outside, they can push the button,” Huseman said. “We’re putting that trust in our teachers; we know that they’re going to do what’s best for the school, and they can enact a lockdown lights out.”

In addition to the intercom initially alerting everyone a lockdown has commenced, every laptop issued to a person in that school is supposed to showcase the alert. Students had the opportunity to experience a drill in February and science teacher Joel White helped introduce students to the new system.

“I think the seniors are super intrigued by this system,” White said. “I think eventually that that alert system will trickle over into the cell phone and I think it will actually give you an immediate notification that the schools are locked down.” 

As well, the technology is not limited to each school having its own system, but it allows for all Blue Valley schools to be linked as one. This means that each badge given to a district staff member can be used to send out alerts anywhere on district property. 

“I think that’s really the cool feature is if I’m on district property, and I see something that’s taking place, even if it’s outside of hours, I can still use my card and alert somebody,” White said. “It’s not just physical buildings, but anything that’s connected to our Wi Fi, so our extra curricular areas that have Wi Fi enabled boxes, like baseball, softball, football, they all have that same protection.”

This system has seen success in other school districts and has had a major impact on response times for emergencies. Business teacher Sicily Krewson said she is proud of the steps the school is taking to improve safety. 

“It’s important to me as a parent that my kids are being taken care of in a safe place during the day, ” Krewson said. “Also as a staff member I certainly feel like Blue Valley is trying to do everything they possibly can to make it better for everybody.”

Security is one of the main things that the district has tried to increase this year with funding from the Bond. These badges have developed a new meaning for safety on campus and have modernized the old age of reporting danger in schools. 

“It makes me sad that we have to go to these measures,” Krewson said. “It also makes me very happy that we aren’t just putting our heads in the sand and pretending that it is never going to happen here.”