Lockdown tests new crisis alert system

Last Friday at 1 p.m. Cedar Shoals High School administration placed the school on lockdown after the Athens-Clarke County Police Department notified them of a 14-year-old who drove a stolen vehicle onto campus.

“The person never entered the building unaccompanied and never posed a threat to students or staff,” Derricotte wrote in an email to CSHS staff and families. In a faculty meeting after classes ended on Friday, Derricotte said the individual was not found with a firearm.

The lockdown lasted 16 minutes while ACCPD, Clarke County School District police, school security and administrators found the person outside of the building and he was arrested. Derricotte then placed the school on an administrative hold for 17 minutes as police personnel swept the school for related individuals and hazards.

According to a report by Wayne Ford for Athens Banner-Herald, the vehicle’s owner saw it enter the school campus at 12:45 p.m. ACCPD then notified the school and the CCSD police department.

Friday’s lockdown tested a security alert system the district installed this spring called CrisisAlert from Centegix. When fully installed, it includes a mobile app for administrators and district officials and wearable badges for individual school staff. A system of color coded lights and intercoms all over campus alert the school when there is a lockdown, administrative hold, weather emergency, evacuation order or clearance to return to normal activity.

Access to the app allows the user to place a school on lockdown from any location. After complete installation and training, faculty will use a button on a bluetooth connected badge to alert officials of a crisis, and school administration will be notified of the location of the alert. When a lockdown is in place, lights flash red and the intercom relays instructions to secure the classrooms and clear the halls in response to the threat.

However, the bluetooth badges had not yet arrived on Friday. According to Derricotte, faculty were going to engage in a training on the alert system the Tuesday before students returned to school, but the training did not occur because the badges had not arrived. 

“Under the circumstances, it went phenomenally well,” Derricotte said of the school’s response to the new alert system.

Jackie Wright

Senior Jackie Wright was the Co-Editor-in-Chief for Cedar BluePrints. Wright graduated in 2022 and currently attends Dartmouth University. Wright has won many journalism awards throughout her years on the staff, including Best in Show for SIPA’s 2021 infographic portion of their Best Visuals Contest, second place in SIPA’s 2021 feature story portion of their Best Writing Contest, first place for SIPA’s 2021 investigative story portion of their Best Writing Contest, second place for SIPA’s 2021 personality feature portion of their Best Writing Contest, Best of Show for the in-depth cover story package of SIPA’s 2020 Best Visuals Contest, and was a part of a team that won Best Overall for SIPA’s 2020 Newspaper Team On-Site Production Competition.

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