Governor Hogan referred to "panic buttons" when he allocated more funds to school security technology.
A DMV-area lock business owner shed some light on this and what other measures are out there, along with who's looking.
"We’re not seeing much of anything going on,” said Gary Baldino, talking about a push for increased security measures within local private schools. “It’s probably more of a budget thing."
Gary Baldino is the owner of Baldino’s Lock & Key Service. He said the universities have the money and told WUSA9 his company did a security job for Georgetown University last year.
“Mainly after Sandy Hook happened, we saw a few things that happened - couple schools did some stuff,” said Baldino.
That's what he's noticing with area private schools.
The business owner said his company does not service public schools.
Baldino said they've worked with 200 or more private school across the DMV.
When it comes to those schools, he said they definitely haven’t seen many requests for panic buttons.
“It does exist. But it could mean a lot of things,” he explained.
One example of the button can close all prison cell doors at once. It’s something you often see in movies.
One New York public high school got a “Smart Panic Button,” something you can hit in the office or on an app. A 4-year-old report done by our New York sister-station, WCBS, showed how one school district got a $10,000 security upgrade. They were able to lockdown the schools, notify police and more with just one tape of that button.
In 2015, WUSA9 reported on the Frederick County Public Schools and how a $15,000 grant was used to install a panic buttons that call the school system’s central office in an emergency.
Baldini said school security has become a significant business and said there's plenty of technology out there.
He showed us two school door locks he has on display. One, he said, came out within the last five years and includes a key lock on both sides of the door handle.
The other had what looked like a car remote. It would allow the teacher to remote lock the classroom. However, that lock, said Baldino, is priced at around $800 to $1,000 a lock.
“They would have to be trained on how to do everything and use it and in panic situations,” he said.
Many of our area’s public school districts are still considering these school security measures that include ways to improve communication, like a panic button.
There’s a bill that's expected to tak the House floor this week. It would provide a DOJ grant to a school system wanting to implement panic buttons.
U.S. Representative Mike Bost (R-IL) and Brad Schneider (D-IL) announced the Securing Our Schools Act in January. A spokesperson for Rep. Bost’s office said the SOS Act was included in a larger bill called, The Stop School Violence Act of 2018.
This piece of legislation was introduced by Congressman John Rutherford (R-FL) along with Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL), Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Hal Rogers (R-KY). The lawmakers said this bill would also create a grant program to train students, school officials and local law enforcement on how to identify and intervene when early signs of violence arrive, among other things.