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Should NJ Schools Be Equipped with Panic Alarms? [AUDIO]

A teacher in Danvers, Massachusetts and another teacher in Sparks, Nevada were murdered this week, with students as the alleged killers in both tragedies.

Police outside Sparks Middle School following shooting
Police outside Sparks Middle School following shooting (KOLO TV via Facebook)

The horrific events are prompting a New Jersey lawmaker to renew is call to require every public school in the Garden State to install panic alarms. Assemblyman Ralph Caputo introduced his bill last January.

“I don’t know why things are so hard to do when it’s so obvious that something has to be done,” says Caputo. “We need to do this because our communities have to be protected so it’s time to get serious about protecting our school children.”

The legislation would require public elementary and secondary schools in New Jersey to be equipped with a panic alarm and red emergency light for use in a school security emergency. The bill defines a panic alarm as a silent security system signal that can be manually activated to signal a life-threatening or emergency situation that requires a response from law enforcement. The alarm would not be audible inside the school facility, and would be in addition to existing security systems.

“Time is of the essence when it comes to school security emergencies,” says Caputo. “We’ve seen too many heartbreaking situations where a few seconds can mean the difference in the number of lives saved.”

This week, Nassau County, New York officials decided to require panic alarms in their schools. Caputo believes that’s further proof that this is a good idea. He says it’s commonplace technology and something that should be done to better protect our children.

In addition to the panic alarm, the bill requires that schools be equipped with a red emergency light that is affixed to the exterior of the school building in a highly visible location above or near the front entrance. The light would be linked to the school’s panic alarm so that it turns on when the alarm is activated.

“These are simple steps we can take to bolster school security and prompt an even quicker response from law enforcement,” explains Caputo. “Anything we can do to make our children safer is quite simply the right thing to do.”

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