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Rock Island/Milan School District Pushing for Electronic Messaging System

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Schools everywhere are beefing up security after the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. One Quad City school is following the lead of others by implementing an electronic messaging system. It’s just one way schools are keeping them in the loop with what’s going on.

Most school districts have put in the alert messaging systems in their schools, but Rock Island/Milan school districts are the last to put one in. That might change real soon. The district is currently looking at systems to purchase.

"We have a phone calling system at the high school right now, but it's not very efficient. It takes a couple of hours to deliver a few hundred calls,” says Holly Sparkman, Marketing Director for Rock Island/Milan School District.

Parents will be notified when an emergency happens, early dismissals or if school is canceled because of bad weather. Not only will parents be notified by a phone call, but alerts will be sent through emails and text messages.

Parent Kim Hansen says the system would be convenient and a sense of relief for her, "My phone sits by me all day long so definitely that's how I would prefer to be contacted is through via text or email because then I would be aware right away."

Sparkman says the electronic alert system hasn’t fit in their budget in the past, but this year they’re making it a priority, "We just decided this year that it' something that we strongly needed to look at and make room for."

Although it’s not set in stone, parents say it’s a change that needs to happen.
"I am a parent and I know that your kids don't always tell you things or don't always come home with the right information,” says Sparkman.

In Iowa, both Davenport and Bettendorf School Districts have a similar messaging system. The Board of Education will have the final say on whether or not the district should have the messaging system at their next board meeting, January 22, 2012.

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