Wireless Telephones Help Schools Increase Communications, Decrease Safety Risks

Article excerpt

Increasing communications among students, teachers, staff, administrators and security personnel is the answer to many of the challenges schools face today. But with schools expanding into portable classrooms, improving communications in the schools is more complex than it sounds. One way in which forward-thinking schools are improving their communications is by providing personnel with wireless telephones. To take advantage of their existing telecommunications infrastructure, schools are inexpensively adding wireless voice capabilities to their existing Wi-Fi WLANs.

Although schools initially may have decided to deploy wireless networks to offer students and staff mobile computing labs and Internet access, they are now finding that voice is yet another capability that can be added to their network. The result is that staff can carry lightweight wireless telephones that cover classrooms, parking lots, laboratories, lunchrooms, gyms, auditoriums, athletic fields, locker rooms and a host of other campus areas. Increasing school safety is priceless for administrators, but with wireless telephones, the cost of supplying teachers and staff with handsets is less than other alternatives such as paging devices, walkie-talkies, intercom systems, cellular phones, and wired desktop or wall-mounted telephones.

Schools are finding that voice makes the most sense when it comes to opening communications channels among teachers, parents, school staff and community emergency medical teams. However, as simple and effective as the telephone is, most schools still do not have the funds to wire each classroom with a desktop telephone--a situation that is compounded by portable classrooms that often are 150 feet away from the main school building.

The need for increased communications exceeds having wired telephones in every classroom, because providing communications campuswide is vital in keeping the student body safe. For the very reason that safety concerns run the gamut from violence, theft, drugs, firearm concealment, vandalism and other health urgencies, schools must equip teachers and staff with the fastest, simplest devices to manage and contain such emergencies. …