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Our View: Schools wise to buy rapid alert system
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The Monroe school district continues to show it's serious in learning from its shortcomings during the rash of school threats and evacuations a few weeks ago.

The latest evidence was the school board's decision Monday to purchase a Rapid Communications System that can make phone calls and send text messages to parents to notify them of an emergency in the schools.

Perhaps the biggest complaint leveled against the district during the threats was that it didn't provide parents and the community with enough information in a timely manner. The district responded quickly by appointing a media point person, Director of Curriculum and Instruction Jennifer Thayer, and sending out e-mail alerts to parents who had signed up for the Family Access program.

But the Rapid Communications System will be far more effective, and much quicker, in notifying parents.

The AlertNow system can make up to 8,000 phone calls or text messages per minute. Messages can be sent to only those affected by a particular emergency. The cost - $7,650 annually - is well worth the benefit it will provide in communications with parents.

The system won't only be used for emergencies. It also can be a means to notify parents and students of weather-related cancellations and closings. And general school news and announcements, as well as specific student-related information, can be transmitted via the system.

While it still will be up to the district to provide the kind of information parents are looking for, the AlertNow system should ensure that the news is delivered quickly enough. That's a very positive change to result from a very negative series of events.