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Panic buttons may be coming to Illinois schools

Panic buttons may be coming to Illinois schools.
Panic buttons may be coming to Illinois schools.
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Publicly funded schools across the country may qualify for some additional federal funding for panic buttons in their schools.

This is something one state representative said should be a standard in every school.

Those publicly funded grade schools can qualify for up to $200,000.

The language for this funding came after President Donald Trump signed the omnibus spending bill Friday.

"These particular devices that would immediately go to a 911 emergency service," said State Representative Mike Bost, R-IL-12. "Not only in the case of a shooting but also some kind of seizure or something like that and have a quick response time for first responders."

The goal of these panic buttons is to help alert first responders for a quicker response time to any kind of an emergency.

Something that some wonder, why it is in banks but not yet every school?

"We have these devices protecting, in banks, protecting our money," said Director of Safety for Ball-Chatham School Randy Allen. "So, why not put them in schools, protecting our students?"

Some said it is an opportunity to keep more students safe in scary situations.

"These are great things that are already happening that I think we can use to reduce the opportunity for anybody to see what we saw at Parkland." Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville said.

While the bill, originally written by Rep. Bost, was in the works before the Parkland, Florida shooting, he said the push to make these changes became a reality after the incident.

Especially for schools and school districts that might not have been able to afford panic buttons.

"The thought that came to my mind is, if I as a member of Congress have the ability to instantly press a button and get someone being able to respond, why wouldn't we do that in the classroom," Rep. Bost said.

Some see the financial assistance as a welcome addition to their schools.

"I don't see how it can possibly hurt. I think anything you can do to increase security in the schools is a great idea," Allen said.

Rep. Bost said he hopes to have the grants ready to go to schools before the end of 2018.

Schools that have questions about applying for the Department of Justice grant can contact his office and will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

The funding will be covering up to 75 percent of the cost, up to $200,000.

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