Norman school taking school security to the next level
A metro school wants to add a new, high tech layer of security to its buildings. The Community Christian School (CCS), along I-35 in Norman, is asking parents to help pay for the upgrade. The new alert system would be the first of its kind in Oklahoma.Last November, Fox 25 brought you the story of a hostage situation at the Nextep building right down the street from CCS. During that incident, CCS was put on lockdown. School leaders say the security protocol worked that day, but they want the school to be even more secure in the event of an incident on campus."We hope we never need it, but we want to have it installed just as a safety measure," said Kristy Watson. Watson is the president of the Parent Teacher Student Fellowship group at CCS.The more than 800 students at CCS are already secure. The school's three buildings have locked doors, some bulletproof windows and a video monitoring system. Now, the school wants to make students even safer."We're hoping that by adding this system, the BluePoint Alert system, it can just be another tool to help us be prepared in the event of an attack," Watson said.A meeting was held at CCS Tuesday night to introduce parents to the BluePoint Rapid Emergency Response System. It's a wireless system that uses pulls, installed on walls, and buttons worm by staff, to alert police and emergency responders to a dangerous situation. The pulls use the same technology as fire alarm pulls that are already installed on the walls of most schools."That message of alert, of lock down, would immediately go out so that teachers could do what they need to do to protect the students in class," said Watson.When an alarm system is pulled or pushed, police are notified within seconds by BluePoint dispatch and text message. BluePoint says it results in the quickest response time yet. The school's intercom system is also alerted and a lockdown message is broadcast."There just is not time for any delay," said BluePoint CEO John McNutt. "The more margin for error we can remove in the process the better and safer our kids are going to be.A quicker response can mean lives saved. It's a peace of mind the school board and parents want to have."I think it's so important because unfortunately we don't live in the best world now and we need to keep our kids as safe as possible," said CCS parent and teacher Brandi McAlister.The school says it will cost about $75,000 to install the system. The money will have to be raised by parents. CCS parents say when it comes to their children's safety, no price tag is too much."Our goal is to raise the funds for it within the next month so we can install the system over the summer," Watson said.At Tuesday's meeting, the school arranged an informational and emotional online simulcast with Michele Gay. Gay is the mother of a student who was shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT. She explained that no matter what your school's security technology is, it's important for every teacher, student and parent to know the plans the school has in place in the event of an emergency and to practice those plans.So far 45 schools across the country have installed the Rapid Emergency Response System. None of them have had to use it. Only once has a student pulled the alarm as a prank.