K-12 Campus Communication: The Two-Way Radio Advantage

A half-hour north of Milwaukee, in the Mequon-Thiensville School District, two-way radios play an important role in helping to keep students, teachers and staff safe. On any given day, more than 200 radios are put into service across the district’s six schools, and Director of Buildings and Grounds Kyle Thompson says the radios are proving to be a critical communications tool—especially in an emergency.

He shared with us two recent examples of how two-way radios have given teachers and administrators an advantage when compared to the use of phones.

“We recently had a power outage at two of our schools that put about a thousand kids in the dark. A contractor dug a power line right up the road, which left us in the dark. Plus, we didn’t have running water since those schools are on wells. And because those phones are all Voice Over IP, we couldn’t make phone calls. Yet we needed to figure out how to get a thousand elementary and middle school kids calmed down. The radios were a phenomenal asset to that. The administrators were able to get a hold of me right away. We ended up having to evacuate one school and then send another school home early. During it all, the radios worked great.”

“In another case, we had a couple of kindergarten classes going through a little trail in the woods behind one of our schools. We had a leader in front, a leader in back and a few other leaders mixed in, but there was a long chain of about 70 kids. And somewhere in the middle, one of them found a wasps’ nest and stomped on it. So now you’ve got all these wasps coming out stinging kids and there’s really only one way out of the trail. So we tell the kids to ‘run to the light’ while we call for help. In that instance, the radios helped us mobilize people much more quickly, I think, than if we’d been relying on our cell phones; it’s so much easier to just take the radio off your belt, go to the channel you want, cue and talk. As it turns out, two of the kids who were stung had to go to the hospital because they’re allergic to bees. So we’re thankful we were able to act quickly.”

The BAYCOM-provided, Motorola radios are one tool in a comprehensive suite of technologies designed to ensure safety and security across the Mequon-Thiensville School District. At each complex, they’ve installed double-locked entrances, surveillance cameras, vape detectors and fire alarm systems that enable mass notification. And across the district’s parking lots, barrier gates and license plate recognition systems are being installed to further enhance safety.

Learn more on our website about how BAYCOM can help you ensure a safer environment for students and staff.