Northern Michigan schools try out new safety measures

Published: Aug. 20, 2019 at 4:00 PM EDT
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Some school up north are trying out new safety measure for this upcoming school year--allowing police to be able to respond faster in an emergency.

Gray, purple, green...what looks like just colorful classroom numbers is actually a color coded safety measure.

"Generally in the past if we would've called 911 they would know to come to Suttons Bay High School, now they know to come to Suttons Bay High School gray hallway," Michael Carmean, Suttons Bay Schools Superintendent said.

Each hallway has a different color and law enforcement will have a digital map of each school so they know exactly where to go.

"A lot quicker response time if there is an emergency," Carmean said.

So, if a first responder is looking for the gray hall way, they can now step in and look and know they're in the right spot and find the room they need, where before they would've had to walk down the hallway and check behind each wall to see which room is which.

"Originally I was in denial thinking some of these things 10 years ago was a little over-the-top, do we really need to do this? we now know we do and to not have them in place and to not have the best safety possible would be a bit negligent on our part," Douglas Periard, a teach and athletic director at the school said.

Suttons Bay are the first schools to have the colored placards installed, but eventually every school in Leelanau County will have them.

"I think the kids are of a certain age right now but this is the norm, this is the new normal for them. This is something that they see and think 'okay they're doing something to keep us safe, and after the event a couple years ago when our kids went into lock-down mode...everybody got that kind of wake up call that this is something we may need to deal with and we need to take the training seriously," Periard said.

Cameras, checking visitor ID's and the boot, all security measures different schools have adopted to keep people safe.

"So this is just the next step... we are constantly trying to improve the safety.. and it's unfortunate that we have to but that's the world that we live in and you know we want to keep our students and staff safe," Carmean said.

Suttons Bay is also planning to put matching decals on the classroom windows just in case first responders need to come in that way. The Leelanau County Sheriff used money from the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians to write a grant for the changes.

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