Okay, great. Sounds like you folks have a very intelligent system and are very conscious of the nature of public and private two-way radio channels. I absolutely agree with you on the advantage of instant communication with two-way radios, instead of with their heads down, texting. Another factor few schools think about is the optics of professionalism with good two-way radios. Plus, kids learn some basic two-way radio skills that will be important later in many occupations. (Two-way radios are not going away, even with everyone in the world having cell phones.)
The reason the current radios you have are illegal is because they are programmed to random business channels, not the Family Radio Service (FRS) channels that they should be programmed to. Plus, even if they were programmed to those FRS channels, they are still not approved for that operation. FRS is designed to be a shared, short-range radio system that utilizes inexpensive radios with fixed antennas and low power. This way, they can get millions of users across the country using the same 22 frequencies, and little chance of interference because - unless you are at Walt Disney World or something like that - they only communicate within a block or two.
This is also why those radios you see at the toy stores and big-box retailers are legal. You will notice they are all very low power (under 2 watts) and have fixed antennas.
Here are the actual frequencies, just in case you ever manage to find a programming cable and software for those Tacklife radios:
Here is some information you may find interesting. While FRS radios are licence-free and must be 2-watts of radiated power or less, and GMRS radios can be much higher power and have detachable antennas (and require a licence in the U.S.), in actual use, output power is not directly related to range. 5 watts of a GMRS handheld does not give you significantly more range than 2-watts of an FRS radio. Internal construction quality and antenna height are probably more important than outright power. This is why a good 2-watt FRS radio (such as the Wouxun I mentioned) can be virtually as good as an average 5-watt GMRS handheld … plus of course, being much more durable.
From what you describe, I think FRS is the way to go for you. Yes, it’s not private but it sounds like you are all using them responsibly, and for their intended purpose.
If you ever get hold of the programming software and a programming cable that works, read the frequencies on the Tacklife radios, and compare them to the FRS ones I linked to. You will see they don’t match. Yes, thousands of users have taken amateur or business radios and programmed them to the FRS frequencies, and there is little chance anyone would ever know, but they are still not approved for that use.
Maybe start with those two new ones you have, and add some good quality FRS radios. Again, our forum hosts have a wide range of FRS radios, and if you can’t afford those business-class Wouxun radios, you can at least get some name brand radios that are reasonably durable (and many are water-resistant too.)
Personally, I wouldn’t ethically sell those Tacklife radios to anyone else unless they can be programmed away from those frequencies, but I suppose that is one option for you. Incidentally, Tacklife is not a manufacturer. They are a branding company who source cheap products that they can widely advertise. For example, their “tactical” line of flashlights is laughable. (I train SWAT teams for part of what my wife laughingly refers to as “a living” so I know radios, flashlights and a couple of other things too.)