BELLINGHAM, Wash. -

The Bellingham school district will be installing panic buttons in its buildings to provide a direct line to law enforcement during an emergency.

The Bellingham Herald reports the technology is being paid for by a nearly $440,000 grant from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Bellingham is one of 80 districts throughout the state sharing in nearly $7 million in school safety grants from the agency. The program is intended to reduce police response time for school emergencies.

Bellingham's recent $160 million bond included about $2 million to improve school safety. Other safety projects covered by the local bond include intrusion detection systems, video cameras, lighting and locking systems.