Volusia County school staff badges cause handful of false alarm lockdowns

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — A badge Volusia County school staff can use to alert everyone on campus to a dangerous situation has led to some false alarms.

The district said there’s been a handful of times it’s been pressed too many times by mistake and triggered a lockdown.

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The district said last week a staff member at University High School hit a crisis alert button badge causing the school to briefly go into lockdown.

“Through our best efforts and constant and continual training there are going to be mistakes because the human element is involved,” said Chief Michelle Newman, the director of the district’s safety and security.

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She said the devices went out to all 8,000 district employees as mandated by the state legislature to establish a panic alarm on campuses.

Newman said there’s been a handful of incidents since they were rolled out mid-September when someone has pressed the panic button too many times and caused a lockdown.

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For security reasons, she won’t say exactly how many times it has to be pressed to trigger an alert.

School Board Member Ruben Colon brought up the issue at last week’s board meeting.

He said he wants a message to go out quickly to parents when this happens by mistake.

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The district said it put out a message to parents on the devices and how they work.

It also plans to retrain those staff who have triggered a lockdown inadvertently.

“We don’t want to discipline anyone for activating a lockdown or activating the badge, even though there is not an emergency,” Newman said. “We want to train them; we want to educate them.”

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.