Some local districts can control school security with the tap of an app

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on May 30, 2013 at 11:24 PM

AVALON - In this little town on the southern edge of Ellis County, the school superintendent is living with a big worry.

"We're not going to let our guard down for our kids here," said Dr. David Del Bosque, Avalon ISD Superintendent. "This is just as important in a small town that we have the same protection as anybody else."

The tragedy in Newtown, Conn. resonated here. So did the deadly tornado that hit the elementary school in Moore, Okla.

Both of them moved Avalon ISD to upgrade its security system.

Now, if faced with its own emergency, the school district can call 911, put buildings in lockdown, and activate a pre-recorded message over its public address system. All of it can be done simultaneously, and remarkably, from the touch of a button on a principal's mobile phone.

"It's a big deal, because we can access every building instantly," Del Bosque added. "We'll be able to access law enforcement quickly with one press of a button."

The technology is about a year old. It's called District Link and sold by Lone Star Communications. The software is not just here in Avalon, but also a half-dozen other North Texas school districts, including Burleson, Cedar Hill, Frisco, Keller, Lipan, and Plano.

The security system is an addition to each district's existing security, rather than a replacement.

"You'd be looking at spending ten times the amount of money to replace the existing infrastructure that works perfectly well," explained Joe Jackson with Lone Star Communications. "Let's just put intelligence on the front to match it to the outcomes you want to achieve."

It takes thinking out of crises, and is tied together with the screen of a smart phone.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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