Lawmaker proposes changes to locks, intercoms, emergency training and drills for schools

KHON - February 15, 2018
By: 
Elyssa Arevalo

In the wake of the Florida shooting, a lot of people are talking about school safety.

A lawmaker wants to put safeguards on campuses so students are less vulnerable should a school shooting ever happen here.

Senator Mike Gabbard has drafted a bill after a Campbell High School teacher reached out to him earlier this year.

“We just didn’t have to deal with these kinds of things. We live in a different age now,” Gabbard said. “Her concern was what can we do to protect our keiki, and we had an exchange and started coming up with ideas and had the bill drawn up.”

Gabbard wants to make it mandatory for locks to be installed on the inside of all classroom doors, and for all campuses to be equipped with specialized intercoms,

“So there can be communication, for example if the shooter is here, the whole school knows right away,” Gabbard said. “Presently they can lock their doors from the outside, but if there’s a shooter out there, if there’s some emergency going on out there, you wanna be able to take care of your kids.”

The bill would also require an emergency management plan to be implemented at all schools where teachers would be trained on basic first aid and CPR skills.

A former teacher himself, Gabbard says change can begin at the schools.

The state Department of Education agrees, but says it won’t be cheap.

Officials say there are 12,000 classrooms across the state, and most have two doors each.

“That’s probably about $400 for the equipment, probably another $300 to install that. Multiply that by 24,000 and you start getting some large numbers,” Assistant Schools Superintendent Dann Carlson said. “The average age of our facilities is 61 years old. We have many buildings that are over 100 years old. We weren’t thinking of these problems back then.”

Some of the newer facilities have interior locks, but all schools have some type of intercom system. All schools are also required to practice emergency drills, including active shooter, a minimum of 5 times a year.

Online tracking of SB2576:

https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber...

http://khon2.com/2018/02/16/lawmaker-proposes-changes-to-locks-intercoms...