Panic buttons or armed teachers: which would you feel safer with?


Graphic by: Ryan King

Ryan King

How can teachers be better prepared in a situation where a threatening, possibly armed figure, comes on to Ventura High School’s campus?

One option is implementing a panic button system district-wide to speed up and ease the process of alerting authorities of a possible attack by a threatening figure on a certain campus.

According to Rave Mobile Safety, “Every campus needs innovative emergency technology and comprehensive safety protocols that support rapid response to all safety threats, from medical emergencies to active assailants.” Marion County Public Schools, located in Ocala, FL, set up a panic button system to further assist students and faculty in staying safe from active assailant incidents on their campus.

Graphic by: Ryan King

According to an article from Governing: The States and Localities, “Latest Move in School Safety? A Panic Button,” in Marietta, GA, teachers and administration from 14 private and public schools can now press a panic button that directly alerts the authorities. They have strategically been placed to where only teachers and administration can access them, to better ensure they are not accidently pressed. The installation of these panic buttons cost a total amount of $5,000.

With all of this information, some on campus are asking the question, “Should VUSD set up a panic button system to better assist with students and faculty feeling safer while on campus?”

VHS teacher, Tyree Cruz, said that “[A Panic Button] might be a [good] idea to have, like administration or teachers to have something like that, but I think that if you made [the panic buttons] accessible to the student population, then people would just be pressing it for the heck of it.” He later added that “Just in Ventura, how many times they pull the fire alarm, the same thing would happen. And then with that, you end up running into [the] problem of like when the fire alarm goes off, everybody is like, ‘Another drill, who pulled the fire alarm,’ nobody is like ‘Where’s the fire?’”

Overall, Cruz thinks that “for administrators or teachers, maybe it’s something to consider, if they can find information that supports it.”

An example of a more national implementation of panic buttons is many colleges and universities around the United States, are implementing the “Blue Light” security system where students can press the button at a post on campus at anytime and get assistance from an authority figure on campus if they ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable. This program is even an application on mobile devices, so students can now get assistance at anytime and at any location.

Another option that is now being widely discussed between political parties in the U.S due to the recent events of shooters on school campuses is arming teachers with concealed guns who are, according to President Trump’s official Twitter feed, “gun adept teachers with military or special training experience.”

VHS teacher Jared McEntyre shared his opinion on this matter: “I would say that teachers should not carry guns at school. I think that it’s not hard to imagine that if I had a gun or another teacher had a gun, that another student would have access to that. I think the chances of a mistake happening are greater than the chances of me being a hero and saving the school.” In addition he added, “I think having guns is going to make things more dangerous than the very small possibility of someone coming onto campus with a gun.”