Lancaster County Schools installs panic buttons district-wide

Button can immediately lock down schools

LANCASTER, SC (WBTV) - The Lancaster County School District is enhancing security with a new system that includes panic buttons.

The panic buttons allow school administrators to lock or unlock all exterior doors of a school building with the click of a button. By summer, school officials expect all schools in the district to be equipped with one.

Administrators within the safety department can secure doors in the entire district, even if they are not on site. As quickly as a door can be locked, Director of Safety Bryan Vaughn says they can unlock doors as well.

“If law enforcement was outside and didn’t have access because the building was locked, we have the ability to open those doors up,” Vaughn said.

He says the panic buttons will be most effective on larger campuses like the high schools that have detached wings.

“For example, for a large high school where you have vocational school or some wings outside … you may have 5, 6 or 7 doors may be left open periodically throughout the day,” Vaughn said.

With the panic button those doors can be locked immediately if a threat is posed. Before the panic buttons, an employee would have to manually lock each door.

“It’s something we’ve been wanting to do but couldn’t because of the funding aspect. But because of the bond referendum and the voters passing that, we were finally able to,” Vaughn said.

The upgrades cost several million dollars, according to Vaughn. It includes the panic buttons, new doors and key-cards for staff members. The new program monitors who enters the building, when and through what entrance.

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