Illinois Schools Install Active Shooter Alarms

Jide Olukoya

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Imagine that you’re sitting in your 7th period class on a Friday afternoon, ready to go home and rest for the duration of the weekend. Then, all of a sudden, an alarm heard across the entire school campus goes off. Depending on who you ask, the sound of this alarm going off can be even more frightening than usual because it’s not the fire alarm; it’s the active shooter alarm.

Due to the recent tragedies that have happened in American schools, more than twenty schools in the state of Illinois have installed active shooter alarms. Four of the twenty schools are in Chicago. These alarms are similar to fire alarms in terms of appearance but are light blue instead of red. When the levers to these alarms are pulled the company that made the alarm, BluePoint Alert Solutions, is sent a signal and the police are notified.

Recently, I sat down withI asked Dr. Kenner and asked her about the alarms and whether we need such a device in our school.  Here’s what she thought about the alarms:

Me: “So how do you feel about these alarms being installed?”

Dr Kenner: “I think we can utilize any device that would help us deal with an active shooter. However, my first inclination when you talked about it was would people be pulling that alarm falsely? Then we would have police officers converging upon our school with guns drawn and perhaps and accident could happen.”

Me: “Do you think that Whitney Young need this?”

Dr. Kenner: “It would be great to have. I’m never going to say we don’t need it because that’s naive, but anything that could help us keep our building safe, I’m all for.”

I also asked Andrew Nemeroff ‘19 a quick question about the alarm system idea.

Me:  “How do you feel about having a gun alarm in the school?”

Andrew: “I don’t like it because it seems useless. By the time it goes off, the shooter will already be in school shooting at students or some kids may pull it as a prank.”

Here’s what  Jordan Hill ‘21 had to say about the topic.

Me: Would you feel safer if we had gun alarms at Whitney Young?

Jordan: “These alarms being installed do not make me feel any safer. In fact, it makes me feel more endangered because there might be kids that want to pull it as a prank. So in that case we wouldn’t know if there was actually a shooter in the building.”

    Me: “Do you think that Whitney Young needs one?”

    Jordan:“I don’t think that Whitney Young needs one because we have the Chicago Police Academy right next door.”

    It seems like here at Whitney Young some people don’t think we need the alarm since we have police next door and the chance of causing panic because of a false alarm. We’ll have to play the waiting game to see if administration chooses to install these or the state of Illinois makes it mandatory. 

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The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.
Illinois Schools Install Active Shooter Alarms