ST CHARLES, Mo. — After gunmen opened fire, killing 31 people in two mass separate shootings in Ohio and Texas last weekend, a St. Charles County school district is taking new steps to protect students and staff.
The Orchard Farm School District is the first district in the St. Louis area to get new technology to help prevent against active shooters.
It’s called SafeDefend, a box containing medical equipment, pepper spray and other items that would help in case of an active shooter.
All a teacher has to do is put their fingerprint on a sensor on the device installed in every classroom and law enforcement is notified.
Friday the school held a training session for staff, showing them how to use the new technology and keep students like Tammy Machens’ daughter safe.
“I think she feels better about it, better about what’s going on in the world because she has a plan and she knows her teachers have a plan. Because she knows what to do,” Machens said.
She knows what to do now, too, because she’s also a teacher at Orchard Farm.
“Sure it’s something we think about, but I feel like we’ve been through several trainings and we’re prepared,” Machens said.
Doug Parisi is the man tasked with training students and teachers.
“This system, when activated, sends out text messages and emails to law enforcement, police dispatch, the school resource officers, letting them know specifically to the building and the room number they’re needed in,” Parisi said.
By creating this system, Parisi is focused on cutting down response time and hopefully saving more lives.
“We have things like batons, pepper spray, a tactical flashlight to obstruct the vision of the intruder, stuff like that,” Parisi said, “and all of this is designed to help the teacher protect the classroom.”
Great news for both teachers and parents.
“We’re prepared and we know what to do in that event,” said Machens.
The school paid for the new technology with taxpayer dollars from a security referendum passed in the community in 2018.
87% of people voted in favor of the plan.
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