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Metro Atlanta faculties use panic buttons for conduct, medical issues

Alyssa’s Legislation, which refers to “cell panic alert programs,” handed in a 42-10 vote within the Senate earlier this month. A Home of Representatives committee reviewed the invoice two weeks in the past.

Credit score: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@

Credit score: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@

Faculty districts in Clayton, Cherokee, Cobb, DeKalb, Fayette, Fulton and Henry counties contract with Centegix. Gwinnett County is piloting the system in two of its faculties.

The AJC submitted open information requests to the Clayton, Cherokee, Cobb, Fayette and Henry districts for documentation of all of the cases a Centegix alert was issued this faculty 12 months. Cherokee, Fayette and Henry supplied the requested documentation. Clayton County stated the documentation doesn’t exist. Cobb County stated it was exempt from offering security-related data. The system shouldn’t be totally operational but in DeKalb and Fulton faculties.

Centegix additionally declined to offer district-specific details about how its system is used. Nevertheless it supplied basic knowledge collected in fall 2022 from all faculty programs nationwide that use its expertise, which largely displays the knowledge supplied by the Cherokee, Fayette and Henry districts.

The overwhelming majority of the roughly 50,000 alerts issued nationwide — upward of 98% — solely went to highschool personnel. Most had been associated to scholar conduct or medical emergencies, the corporate reported.

Credit score: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@

Credit score: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@

“After we discuss now in regards to the platform, we name the campuswide emergency program extra of an insurance coverage coverage,” stated Centegix CEO Brent Cobb. “It’s not going for use fairly often — however while you want it, it’s by far within the trade one of the best answer.”

Inadvertent presses of the badges accounted for roughly 10% of the alerts in Cherokee, Fayette and Henry counties. The corporate’s report doesn’t embrace details about unintentional alerts.

DiscoverCobb disaster alert system modified after unintentional 11-school lockdown

In Cobb County, mother and father have reported greater than a dozen cases since August of alerts being issued at faculties the place no menace was current. In October, district officers reported “human error” inflicting a lockdown at 11 faculties. The state’s second-largest district beforehand used a system known as AlertPoint, however switched to Centegix after officers stated the system was the sufferer of a cyberattack that triggered a lockdown at each faculty when no menace was current.

Centegix now encourages districts to retrain employees with the badges roughly each six months, Brent Cobb stated.

Credit score: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@

Credit score: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@

The invoice’s fundamental sponsor, state Sen. Jason Anavitarte, R-Dallas, stated he was motivated to carry the invoice to lawmakers by his school-aged kids and his spouse, who’s a instructor.

“We are attempting to carry all 180 faculty districts as much as a typical of excellence,” he instructed the Home Training Committee final week, including that disaster alert ought to be only one instrument in a district’s toolbox.

The invoice doesn’t specify a vendor, however would require state companies to challenge a aggressive solicitation for acceptable distributors.

The invoice doesn’t allocate funding for the disaster alert programs, however Anavitarte urged that districts can use $50,000 security grants allotted by Gov. Brian Kemp for every faculty within the amended fiscal 12 months 2023 finances. Centegix prices roughly $8,000 per faculty per 12 months for its system, which incorporates the badges, different tools and software program.

A number of states have already handed Alyssa’s Legislation, together with Florida — the place Centegix is a most well-liked vendor. A couple of-third of Florida districts at present use Centegix, stated Brent Cobb. By the summer season, he stated he expects that to extend to about half of districts.

Workers reporter Ty Tagami and knowledge journalist Stephanie Lamm contributed to this text.

Centegix’s ties to the Gold Dome

The founding father of Centegix has ties with Gov. Brian Kemp, who will obtain Alyssa’s Legislation if it passes each legislative chambers, that return many years.

Kemp and Daniel Dooley had been childhood mates and faculty roommates. At his 2023 inauguration, Kemp wore a tie that belonged to Dooley’s father, Vince Dooley — the legendary head soccer coach and athletic director on the College of Georgia.

Since 2010, Daniel Dooley has donated $28,100 to Kemp’s numerous political campaigns, in accordance with marketing campaign finance information. The corporate that owns Centegix, 34Ed LLC, donated $18,100 to Kemp’s 2022 gubernatorial marketing campaign.

By way of a spokesman, Kemp declined to touch upon the invoice or his relationship with Dooley.

“Out of respect for the legislative course of, the governor has not weighed in on this laws,” spokesman Garrison Douglas stated in an e-mail.

Kemp has expressed curiosity in extra safety measures for public faculties. Within the early a part of his first time period, he signed laws that supplied greater than $69.4 million to reinforce current safety measures and to start out new packages. Final 12 months, Kemp held a gathering with faculty leaders to debate safety, psychological well being and different considerations on public faculty campuses.

The AJC shouldn’t be conscious of Kemp and Dooley’s relationship influencing faculty districts to contract with Centegix. In an announcement by way of the corporate’s spokeswoman, Dooley stated districts in additional than 30 states have used their product as a result of it’s the “quickest and easiest method for workers to get assist in any emergency.”

Centegix CEO Brent Cobb stated lawmakers’ curiosity in Alyssa’s Legislation — named after Alyssa Alhadeff, a scholar who died within the 2018 capturing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive Faculty in Parkland, Florida — “has nothing to do with anybody aside from the state meeting.”

“You just about title a state, and there’s Alyssa’s Legislation laws there,” he stated. “There’s simply quite a lot of motion across the nation because it pertains to that.”

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