Arkansas House: School personnel will receive panic buttons


panic button on keyboardWeekly column written for members of the Arkansas House of Representatives:

A bill that passed the House last week could implement the first of its kind school safety network in the country. HB1653 is called “A bill to create the school safety act.” It has bi-partisan support with 82 sponsors and passed on the House floor with a vote of 91-0.

This act would require that computer programmers working for the state would design an app for every teacher and school employee.

Then in the event of an emergency, the teacher would press one button to contact emergency services. This could be used for medical emergencies involving in a student or a school shooting. If used for a state of emergency situation, such as a threat of violence, then the Smart 911 system would alert all teachers and staff in the school of the situation. Emergency responders will be equipped with every floor plan of every school.

The cost will be state funded and will not be placed on individual school districts. If this passes the Senate and makes it the Governor’s desk, school systems should be fully equipped with the panic button by September of this year.

The system is aimed at saving minutes which will ultimately save lives.

This was one of just many bills passed last week. The House also focused on domestic violence.

The House passed a bill that would require health courses offered in grades 7 through 12 to include a unit on dating violence. The course would teach characteristics of healthy relationships and teach definitions of dating violence and abuse.

Members also passed HB1599 which requires law enforcement agencies to give suspected victims of domestic violence a document to be known as “Laura’s Card.” The card will give an explanation of the victim’s rights and availability of medical, housing, counseling and financial services. HB1631 now heads to the Senate as well. It prohibits a court from awarding alimony to a person convicted of a domestic violence offense from the victim of that crime.

Our committees are now meeting for several hours a day. And during a typical session on the House floor, members are voting on dozens of bills as we inch closer to the end of this session.

Members will begin addressing workforce education and training programs this week.

We’d like to remind Arkansans, that you can watch your government at work at .


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