New alarm system aims to keep kids at Bloomfield Hills High School safer

Posted at 10:34 PM, Sep 05, 2016

How many kids have been killed in school fires in the U.S. in recent years? The answer is zero.

Yet dozens have died in school shootings.

So why do we have fire alarms, but not police alarms?

U.S. schools have set the standard for protecting kids in schools from fires. In the last 15 years, there have been zero deaths.

But when it comes to violence, U.S. schools have a tragic record.

According to CDC's School Associated Violent Death Study, between 14 and 34 school age children are victims of homicide on school grounds on their way to and from school each and every year.

The threats sometimes come from inside the school.  At Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999, two students killed 15 people including themselves.

Other times the threats come from outside the school.

At Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, 20-year-old Adam Lanza walked into the school then fatally shot twenty 6 or 7-year-olds, as well as six adult staff members.

So why do we have fire alarms, but not police alarms?

“I think it would make students feel safer and have a sense of control,” says student Tyler Claxton.

Claxton will start this fall at the first school in Michigan to use the Blue Point System - basically a police alarm.  It is at Bloomfield Hills High School.

In the past to initiate a lockdown someone had to call the main office. The main office had to call police and then make an announcement over the P.A. system. 

Now all they have to do is trigger an alarm and immediately everyone in the school is warned and police are notified.

“It notifies us through a monitoring system, as well as text messages,” says Bloomfield Hills Police Officer Cory Donberger. “So it gives us that real time information that we need to respond appropriately.”

Officer Donberger says the system is important for deaf students and staff at Bloomfield Hills High. They will see the visual alarm and get text messages warning them there is a lockdown.

The system cost about $67,000 to install at the high school. The district is looking for ways to fund such a system in other schools.

District leaders are calling on the state to consider funding such systems statewide.

“It’s time. And if we can buy time that is the most precious thing we have,” says Donberger.