Make Your School Safer with Technology
Since 2002, law enforcement officers have trained communities across America in ADD (Avoid, Deny, Defend) responses to active threat situations. The training is useful and practical. People should learn how to respond safely in life-threatening conditions.
However, in the seventeen years since this program began, nearly 300 students have lost their lives at school due to gunfire. Not all of these deaths were related to mass shootings. Some were the result of arguments, and others stemmed from gang violence.
There may be no greater hot-topic button than gun control, but that’s something best saved for another post. We need to focus on what we can do now to keep our schools safe. We may even have the protection tools at our fingertips.
Schools need to incorporate technology that keeps students and teachers safe from any threat.
Safety systems in use
There are already safety-oriented technologies available for school use. Some tech systems monitor everything from your buildings to your social media presence. Others track campus visitors or allow for both anonymous reporting and mass-messaging.
Are these school safety technology systems enough? The answer is yes, if they work the way they were designed. Many safety apps depend on users reporting any dangerous behaviors they see. Unfortunately, many times, students won’t call out friends or acquaintances to report suspicious behavior. They recognize the warning signs but don’t speak up.
Schools and parents have a responsibility to teach students how to identify serious threats. Potential emergencies include:
· Inflicting pain, injury, or death
· Running away
· Damaging property
Anyone making a threat who has a history of violent behavior, access to weapons, or exhibits signs of mental illness should be reported to the school administration immediately. Apathy or hesitation could mean the difference between life and death.
Technology can make these reporting decisions quicker and more accurately than the best-informed students and teachers.
The safety technology we need
To keep schools safe, we need more than a single safety device. We must have layers of safety technology.
While it’s critical that we teach our students when and how to report safety threats, we must provide them with a safe and anonymous system for reporting them. We can also install security cameras in all public areas of the school. Facial recognition software can improve safety. It scans faces throughout the day, and it can instantly identify someone who does not belong at the campus. The same software can also “read” emotions and report the student or adult wearing a suspicious or out of place look on their face.
Additionally, schools must make use of emergency notification software. Messages can be pushed out on desktops and smartphones, giving teachers time to gather students and shelter in place. Two-way messaging systems allow teachers to report which students may have stepped away from the classroom before an alert went out.
No child should be exposed to violence or danger in school. When danger does threaten, layers of safety technology can improve the likelihood of remaining safe.