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TCSS considers purchasing emergency alert, vape detecting devices

The Troup County School System discussed two ways it hopes to spend American Rescue Plan funding during Monday night’s work session.

The proposed purchases are wearable emergency badges for all staff members and air quality control devices that can detect vaping, loud noises and help prevent bullying.

The wearable badges are through Centegix and would cost $961,400 over a five-year period, according to Assistant Superintendent Chip Medders. The badges would be given to all staff members, including bus drivers, and would be worn on lanyards. In an emergency situation, the button on the badge could be mashed to alert the principal.

“We think this will give teachers more peace of mind,” said Superintendent Brian Shumate. “This concept of a teacher having a badge on their lanyard where they can hit this button and get immediate assistance, basically for any kind of disturbance at a school — a kid gets injured, a kid has a seizure, teachers try to attend to the kid — they don’t have to run to the telephone.”

The air quality devices, made by Surelock Technology, would be placed in bathrooms and could measure air quality, picking up on uses of vapes and cigarettes, Medders said.

Medders said in bullying situations they could be programmed to go off if a certain word was uttered so that the principal would be alerted. They would also go off for loud noises.

“Is it going to prevent vapes in our schools? No,” Medders said. “Is it going to make people understand that we are serious about it? I think so.”

Medders said TCSS would start by placing them at Callaway Middle School and Troup High School.  The price of $84,080 would be locked in for 120 days, so if they work well, TCSS would plan to buy more. The initial shipment would include 80 devices, with each covering an area of 12×12 feet.

Before either device can be purchased, both must be approved expenditures under the American Rescue Plan.