How a classroom audio company is upping security in local schools

Published: May. 25, 2022 at 11:17 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - There have been 27 school shootings and 213 mass shootings overall in 2022.

Now parents are fearing the worst: What would happen if my child was in an active shooter situation?

Aiken County is taking proactive steps with a new security system called the SAFE System. They also approved funding for more school resource officers.

In February, a unanimous vote by the Aiken County Board of Education aimed to get teachers a new accessory.

We talked with the makers of the system about what this means for students and teachers.

“It’s a microphone on a lanyard,” said Patrick Sobak, territory manager with the company Audio Enhancement.

His description is simple, but behind it are so many more capabilities. The school district approved $10 million for a new intercom and audio system. $8.2 million of those dollars are from EESR funds, which was federal funding issued to schools during the COVID pandemic.

The microphones on the teachers’ new lanyards will help students hear instruction more clearly, but it also has two potentially life-saving buttons.

“Hold those buttons down. That’s going to trigger that [emergency] alert for that class,” he said.

The district will have free reign to decide who those alerts go to.

“Your school resource officer could have it up on their computer. Your principal, assistant principal, whomever you want to get that alert, could have it up and get it wherever they are within the school,” said Sobak.

The district also has the option to make some alerts more urgent than others.

“We have other programmable buttons like an ‘escalate,’ so if this needs to escalate to district office, or the police,” he said.

The device can even identify what part of a building a teacher is located in. So whether it’s a school fight, a medical emergency, or something much more:

“We can do it all with a push of a button,” said Sobak.

School officials hope this will ensure help is on the way. When the board voted on the systems, their goal was to have everything installed by the start of the 2022-2023 school year.

A representative with the school district tells us teachers are scheduled to get training on the tech sometime in August.

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