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Bald Knob School District upgrades communication efforts with a new emergency alerting system



Bald Knob, Arkansas – The Bald Knob School District is trying a fresh, contemporary strategy for student, parent, and teacher communication.

If there is a threat to the school or merely a spill in the hallway, people may communicate without ever speaking thanks to a program called Catapult EMS.

Bald Knob is a close-knit community where the majority of the teachers, including Marcy Dugger, the director of Federal and Special Programs, are alumni who send their own children to school.

“I’m going to give my life to save their life any day of the week,” Dugger said.

Their goal was to update communications, therefore they bought Catapult EMS.

“We try our best to up our game, to make sure kids are as safe as possible,” Dugger said.

She was instrumental in securing funding for the safety app, which improved group communication.

“I think the greatest benefit is for us to be able to account for students, very, very, quickly,” Dugger said. “We’ve not had a system like that in the past.”

When something is happening, all it takes is taking out your phone to alert teachers in a particular school or throughout the district using the colors green, yellow, and red. Green indicates that there may just be a small cleanup to do before students head to their next lesson. The hues match the seriousness of the problem.

“The yellow is just a little bit higher incident, there’s a little bit more there,” Dugger said. “It wouldn’t mean that we’re doing a lockdown it just might mean, ‘Hey we’re going to keep kids in the room for a few minutes’ and the red obviously would be full-on lockdown.”

According to Superintendent David Bangs, this supplements the security measures already in place and provides teachers with real-time updates.

“We talk about all these different issues that have happened at other schools and we think that can’t happen at our school, and we have to be proactive,” Bangs said.

Dugger stated that this program will modernize safety efforts, with her community and pupils at the forefront of her thoughts.

“We can just give them real-time information as the situation unfolds so that the teacher’s stress level is reduced, and if theirs is reduced, the student’s is reduced as well,” Dugger said.

Several other safety elements in the program and app help spread awareness among users.

This program has also been used by other schools. The system has been the subject of teacher training, and by the 2024–2025 academic year, it ought to be operational.


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