As the amount of school shootings in the United States seems to steadily increase, children's safety at school becomes a larger concern. Schools are always looking for new ways to ensure the safety of their students to ease concerns. Many parents are constantly on edge about the possibility that children will potentially be involved in a school shooting, and for good reason. And since gun control reform seems to be slow coming, schools are being forced to use other measures to keep their students safe. This includes the installation of blue police boxes, similar to the red fire boxes we see in buildings.
The Chicago Tribune reported that over 20 schools in Illinois, all of them private, and most in the suburbs, have installed BluePoint security boxes. These boxes are made just like the fire alarm boxes, you pull a lever that will send an alert to both BluePoint and the local police. This alert will let them know that an active shooter is on the premises. The Tribune also notes that over 150 schools across the country have these boxes from BluePoint, which is based in Elgin, Ill. installed. St. Benedict's Preparatory School, which is on the North Side of Chicago, spent $90,000 installing the boxes throughout the school.
In addition to the boxes, some staff members at the school have fobs that they wear around their necks which also trigger the alarm. The boxes, while in theory are easy to use, may take some time to use. A clear plastic cover must be pulled off first, and then the lever must be pushed in an pulled down. If any of those pieces are being uncooperative, time is being wasted. They are strategically placed around the school, which means for some kids, it would be very easy to run to activate one. But at the same time, it's ease of use, even with training causes some concerns.
“I feel a lot safer than I used to,” said a fifth-grader at St. Benedict’s Preparatory School, which recently spent nearly $90,000 to install the security system. https://t.co/9CKrD6ZWVt pic.twitter.com/WYMStDZcgx— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) September 16, 2018
Of course, being able to see the boxes around the school is very reassuring for children and their families. Potential flaws aside, if these boxes give children a sense of calm while they're at school, then that's all that matters.