BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - McKinley High School in Baton Rouge has unveiled a new security system that was donated by a national company.
OpenEyes Technology, a national company that's headquartered in Baton Rouge, donated and installed the new system at McKinley. The company, in partnership with the East Baton Rouge Parish School System and Councilwoman Tara Wicker, is committed to making schools in the parish safer.
"With all of the active shooter events that were happening across the country, we recognized that we were just unprotected," Councilwoman Wicker said.
The new system, called BluePoint Alert Solutions, which is a Rapid Emergency Response System (RERS), includes police notification capabilities and communication capabilities between buildings on the campus. The system delivers real-time information to local officials in the event of an emergency. Ten blue alarm boxes have been installed in all buildings on campus.
"Instead of having to call 911 operators, the information goes directly to officers and school administrators' phones. The location of where the BluePoint pull station was activated will be sent instantly as a text message to everyone who needs to be aware," said Kelly LeDuff, co-owner of OpenEyes Technology.
Students and teachers will evacuate the building if that's the safest option and a map is generated based on the location of the alarm, so law enforcement knows exactly where to go.
"If something is happening in the front lobby of this school, those teachers don't' deserve to sit in that classroom and wait until it's in their building," LeDuff said. "Imagine being responsible for 10-20 lives."
"It's a way of alerting everybody with a quickness so we can implement lockdown and ensure that the campus is protected in a safe manner," Devin Spurlock, Assistant Principal of the high school said.
Wicker discovered the alert system while researching a way to lower the crime rate in the community.
"I was floored when I first saw the technology. It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen," Wicker said.
"This gives the ease and comfort to know that even in the event that something does happen, but we always pray that it doesn't, that our kids have the technology to be safe," the councilwoman said.
EBRPSS Superintendent Warren Drake is also on board with the new security system.
"The safety and security of our students is always our top priority, so we are greatly appreciative of OpenEyes Technology, Tara Wicker, the Baton Rouge Police Department, and EBRSO for taking a special interest in keeping our children safe," said Drake.
When the school is given the all clear, so are the parents of about 1,200 McKinley High students via text message.
This is the first public school in East Baton Rouge with this alarm system.
Councilwoman Wicker said she has been in contact with Congressman Garrett Graves' office and he is looking into grants that will help with installing this system in every school in the parish.