Davenport Schools consider buying ‘smart’ sensors for high schools

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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) – The Davenport Community School District is considering the purchase of so-called “smart” sensors to prevent vandalism, vaping and violence between students

At Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, the school board saw a presentation on the “Halo Smart Sensors” which the district hopes to use to curb a rise in vandalism and fighting during school hours.

The district’s security supervisor and specialist, Andre Neyrinck, said the devices look and function almost like smoke detectors. Halo can detect vaping, fighting, and gunshots and it can listen for keywords programmed by administrators, among other things. Once activated the sensor will notify the appropriate staff to respond to the area.

Initially, the purchase of these devices would carry a price tag of $51,358.38. Also included is a separate fee of $5,529.20 every two years for the company’s cloud service.

District officials plan on installing these sensors in four bathrooms in Davenport Central North and West High Schools. It will consider expanding its use if it is successful in reducing vandalism and violence.

“The amount of vandalism in our bathrooms at our three high schools, [the cost] is just scratching the surface of that total cost,” Neyrinck said. “In the long run it could — that $5,000 every couple of years — be cost savings to us because we’re not having the vandalism take place.”

Most board members were in favor of the purchase but had some questions about their implementation. For instance, Dr. Allison Beck said she had some privacy concerns.

“I wouldn’t want to program keywords,” Beck said. “I think about it violating students’ privacy or ability to speak freely by programming in words.”

Meanwhile, Bruce Potts wanted to be sure discipline was consistent between the three high schools.

“I would assume that we would be looking at some stiff consequences for students that are doing these things and that those consequences will be coordinated to be the same in all of our buildings,” Potts said.

There was no decision made, but the purchase of the Halo Smart Sensors will be on the agenda for the Aug. 8 board meeting.