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Michigan school district installs gunshot detectors

Bethany Pousho
Glen Lake Community Schools

A Leelanau County school district has made an unusual move in response to incidents of gun violence in schools around the country.

Glen Lake Community Schools has installed a new two-part security system. It connects to law enforcement if it detects the sound of gunfire or if someone sets off an alarm manually. And both parts triggers alerts throughout the school facility.

"We believe we're the first in the nation to have these two systems work hand in glove," said Superintendent Sander Scott.

Scott said the new devices have been installed in every classroom and the hallways. Glen Lake Community Schools is a small district with about 650 students in one K-12 building.

According to Scott, the system cost about $150,000, including installation. That sum covered 40 gunshot detectors, 100 manual pull alarms, 50 strobe light alarms for the hearing impaired, and 10 wearable fobs to alert police.

Scott said having gunshot detectors and manual alarms connected to police in the event of an armed intruder situation is similar to having smoke detectors and fire alarms for preventing and fighting fires.

According to Director of Administration and Instructional Technology Marcus Mead, the new system is just one part of the district's comprehensive school safety plan that includes a wide range of measures such as buzz-in entrances, safety drills, student support services, and anti-bullying programs.

"This is really our last resort - is the armed intruder system," said Mead. "The most important work that we do is the relationships that we build with our kids." 

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