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Panic alarms may be installed in California schools

Whittier High School is shown in this undated file photo.
April 4, 2013 12:31:52 AM PDT
A California bill that would require panic alarms to be installed inside schools across the state got preliminary approval on Wednesday.

AB1076 passed the Assembly Education Committee and now moves to another Assembly committee.

The bill would require heavily-used areas like classrooms, theaters and gyms, to be equipped with panic alarms linked to law enforcement.

"This is low-hanging fruit in providing solutions that improve school safety for students, teachers, staff and administrators" after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto, who introduced the bill.

Under the bill, the alarms would be required only if federal money was made available for that type of safety equipment. Costs are expected to range from $1,000 to $5,000 per school, Olsen's staff estimated, but the cost would depend on the size of the school and the type of alarm installed. Based on that estimate, it would cost the state between $10.2 million to $51.1 million to equip all 10,221 schools in California.

President Barack Obama included $150 million to improve school safety in his proposals to prevent gun violence. The grants could be used to purchase school safety equipment, such as panic buttons, but Congress has yet to act on his proposal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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