Parents to receive emergency alerts

Wednesday, September 17th 2008, 11:35 pm
By: News 9

By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Parents of Oklahoma City students soon could find out about a school emergency or weather closing with a text message or phone call from the school.

The Oklahoma City school board approved this week an $80,000 communication system that will notify parents of a crisis situation.

The system, by Raleigh, N.C.-based AlertNow can send telephone and text messages to parents and staff.

"That will allow us to reach us, to reach all of parents, and all of our staff in the district within approximately seven and a half minutes," school spokeswoman Kathleen Kennedy said.

The district plans to use it to update parents about changes to after-school activities and weather-related closings, such as the 2007 ice storm that shut down schools for several days.

"We had to rely on the media and external communication sources to tell our message," Kennedy said.

The district will soon be able to cut out the middleman.

"When a parent is expecting us to take care of their children, they want to hear the message from us first," Kennedy said.

The district is working to update existing students' phone numbers for use in the new system.