Northeastern installs 50 ‘panic buttons’ on district computers

It’s the day that Northeastern Local Schools Superintendent John Kronour hopes never comes — but is prepared for.

As more emphasis is placed on school security around the country, the district has added another to keep students and staff safe.

Kronour said the district has installed software on 50 computers throughout the district’s five buildings. In the event of an emergency, staff can activate the software by hitting a button.

The software, called ‘MacDuress’ controlled by a series of a few buttons, will send an alert to every Clark County Sheriff’s Office cruiser on the road.

The alert repeats itself to deputies twice with the precise location.

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“We’re kind of calling this, ‘The Cavalry,’” Kronour said. “This is more of an imminent threat, imminent danger to our students and staff and we want ‘The Cavalry’ coming.”

Kronour said the school was able to obtain a grant for the server and site licenses by means of an Ohio Attorney General’s Office grant that’s valued close to $20,000.

He wasn’t able to elaborate on which classrooms among the buildings had the software installed — citing security reasons — but said they’ve been strategically placed in high-traffic areas.

Research by EveryTown for Gun Safety says there have been 69 incidents of gunfire on school campuses across the country in 2019, which resulted in 11 deaths including three suicide deaths and 42 injuries.

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Hitting even closer to home is the West Liberty-Salem school shooting in 2017.

Kronour said the district has added several security upgrades, including more realistic active shooter drills and the addition of the software.

He said the training to use the software is simple and the staff who may need to use it are up to speed.

“It’s very unfortunate that we have to do these things, but obviously we do and we’re going to take it seriously,” he said. “We’re going to do everything to protect our students.”

In the future, he said the district will look at purchasing hand-held radios that will have connections with the police department or sheriff’s office.

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