Proposal to add panic alarms inside all California schools

Lawmakers looking to add extra security at schools

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -  

A proposal to beef up school security around California is making its way through the state assembly.  The bill requiring panic alarms to be installed inside classrooms received preliminary approval.

Schools around the state would be looking at thousands of dollars to install these panic alarms, but school leaders we spoke with say assuring the safety of students, teachers and faculty would be all worth it.

Andres Gonzales is noticing the impact recent school shootings have made inside his own classroom.

"People were more talkative.  Now, people are more quiet," he said.

Safety is among the many things Gonzales and his parents worry about as he juggles school work and after-school activities.

"Because you never know what happens at school.  Sometimes can either happen or go wrong and that's why we have our staff and security to help us," said Gonzales.

A California bill introduced by assembly woman Kristin Olsen of Modesto requires panic alarms to be installed at schools state-wide.

"I think it would assure our safety as a student, I think it would be nice," he said.

The proposal calls for heavily-used areas like classrooms, theaters and gyms to be equipped with panic alarms linked to law enforcement.

"School safety across the nation is always an issue with educators, every parent wants their son or daughter to come home safe and that's our first priority," said Librado Lee Vasquez, principal at East Bakersfield High School.

There are more than $10,000 schools in California and lawmakers say it would cost the state up to $51.1 million dollars to fund the extra safety measure.

"I think that would benefit some school districts.  The Kern High School District is very blessed to have armed police officers on their comprehensive sites and also campus supervisors, adult campus supervisors and I'm certain the legislators have the safety of the students in mind when they initiate this type of legislation," he said.

Like many schools, east high has a safety plan that is reviewed and updated regularly.

Meanwhile, safety personnel at Bakersfield High School say they currently use an alarm on campus that sends an alert to administrators.

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