Radios (Walkie Talkies) take over the district

TIffany+Reagan+shows+off+her+sleek+radio.+This+connects+to+all+administrators+in+the+district.

TIffany Reagan shows off her sleek radio. This connects to all administrators in the district.

Courtney Veitch, staff writer

The black boxes clipped to the administrator’s hips are actually radios (walkie talkies). This year all administrators are required to wear them. The radios were implemented in the beginning of August.

 

Unlike previous years, only the principal, assistant principals, deans and security guards wore them. It now includes all department chairs.

 

“Part of adding to the department chairs does allow us to communicate in various situations. It’ll also make processes run smoother. During the school day it allows for quicker, more accurate information and with that it allows for more safety and security,” Tiffany Reagan, dean of students, said.

 

Reagan says she uses the radio all the time because she is a dean. This way she knows about what’s happening around the school.The fact that all administrators in the District have a radio, allows for more communication among other schools, in case of an emergency.

 

“The district administration proposed implementing a new two way radio system with district-wide coverage.  Many of the schools had also been asking for more radios just for coverage within their buildings,”Jean Malek, director of communication and planning, said.

 

This is the first year that radios have been able to go from school to school. It is important in such cases as the double fire alarms on September 5. The first alarm was sounded at 1:34 pm, and the second at 2:10 pm.

 

“I could theoretically have my walkie talkie on and I could hear somebody at Middle School South, Seth Paine, or any of the schools. If there was an emergency and they went to the emergency channel and called it out, we would all now hear it,” Todd Gregory, department chair of family and consumer sciences, said.

 

Malek also says that the radios will be used for emergency purposes and they now give us the ability to communicate across the entire district in one single communication.

 

“The two way radios serve two purposes.  First, they are used for day to day communications within each school for various common communications.  Examples include announcing bus arrivals, loading and verifying students on departing buses, contacting the nurse for a student in PE or on the playground who sustains an injury, and contacting the building custodian for some facility need like a cleanup,” Malek said.

 

Communication is key when running a school or a business, according to Gregory. Even though radios are not the most user-friendly way of communication.

 

“It is what it is. Once I get used to it I probably won’t even know that I have it on, there’s even times know when I forget I have it on,” Gregory said.

 

The radio is a Motorola, Capacity Plus digital radio system using an FCC licensed RF spectrum for wireless communications, according to Malek.

 

“Two way radios are the gold standard in communication for a crisis situation because regular phone lines and cellular communications are often not available. Lessons learned from other emergency situations, including 9/11, indicate that losing communications is an enormous problem in a crisis situation.” Malek said. “The radios improve the odds of our being able to respond appropriately to a variety of situations.”