WALLINGFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– A new high-tech security system is being rolled out in Wallingford schools. The district is one of the first in the northeast to adopt the technology and officials believe it will help keep kids safe.
It took 33 minutes for authorities to alert the public of an active shooter in Parkland, Florida. The 2018 shooting was one of the deadliest, claiming 17 lives.
In Wallingford, it brought students to the table to search for solutions.
“The response time. They were very concerned about that,” said Salvatore Menzo, Superintendent, Wallingford Public Schools.
The district is now one of the first in the northeast to partner with a web-based technology known as Sielox Class. It’s being implemented in all 12 schools.
“Hopefully we don’t ever have to use it. That’s our hope but should we ever be in a situation we’ll know what to do and be prepared and give the best information,” said Todd Snyder, Principal, Dag Middle School.
The system provides a heat map of all rooms and allows for real-time communication with first responders.
“God forbid anything occurs you know where exactly it occurs in the building. So the police would have access to that, the fire department would have access to that,” said Menzo.
School staff log into a color-coded system from their tablets or computers, kind of like a panic button – everyone sees it at once. Green means everybody is in their room but red would be cause for alarm.
“This would give us access to be able to communicate to teachers and say you’re in a safe area, have your kids leave the building – you’re not in a safe area shelter in place,” said Menzo.
Sielox can be used in active shooter, medical, and even lockdown situations in the surrounding community.
The school board has allocated over a half a million dollars for security this school year, which involves more than just technology. But this is one born directly from student concerns after Parkland.
“We’re always going to feel like we want to improve in terms of security this is another layer,” said Menzo.
The school system is doing a slow roll out of the technology to make sure it works well in all schools.