A variety of events have taken over the headlines, but demands are still ricocheting around the country for solutions to school shooters. There are apps available that provide an expedient, one-touch solution for summoning law enforcement, that automatically dim lights and sounds on phones that help students avoid detection, and the ability to report situations ranging from active shooters and bullying to suicides and the need for medical attention.
The problem is that parents don’t know they exist, school boards are concerned exclusively with cost, and law enforcement is worried they’re being displaced by the apps. The Texas Guardians has developed one such app that’s a multi-faceted tool for an added level of student safety and faster reporting when response times matter most.
The threat is real. Casualties continue to escalate. Everyone fears a school shooter, but other threats exist that no one speaks about. What’s next - a bomb, suicide bomber, an inescapable fire or school bus shooting? School boards gather and debate the installation of metal detectors, hiring security, and arming teachers but the decision is ultimately always about the financial cost to the district.
Law enforcement is slow to adopt or endorse the technology fearing they’ll be displaced as the first response. The app includes free software for police to ensure they receive notifications as quickly as possible. The Texas School Guardian app has even been tested successfully in mock drills with law enforcement.
Police want an app that will take a photo of the suspected gunman, thereby making their job easier, in defiance of the recommended Run, Hide and Fight tactics developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Children should be escaping or hiding when a shooter is on the loose – not sacrificing themselves in an effort to snap a picture of someone who’s trying to kill them.
The Texas School Guardians app was developed specifically for safety and quick reporting during an active shooter event. The app requires youngsters to hit just 1 button instead of 3 for dialing 911 and the caller is immediately connected with law enforcement. The phone’s light is dimmed and sound is shut down to avoid detection. Callers can report when a shooter is seen, shots fired nearby, loud explosions heard, or a request for fire/rescue/medics.
The app also allows individuals to report suspicious behavior, if a knife or gun is spotted, if someone is poisoned, killed, or in the event of a suicide. Users can report bullying, drugs, a stash house, or if they hear someone talking about putting bombs in the school. Custom reports can be created for any number of special circumstances.
Schools and law enforcement have objected to the ability to report bullying. School officials say it’s a problem that should be reported to a teacher, and it can be with the app. Police have complained that they don’t want to be inundated with bullying reports – only serious complaints.
The three-part Texas School Guardians app has a component for teachers and staff, administrators, and students. When the app is activated, it gives the exact location of the person using it, making it easier to track, identify and locate where a gunman is taking lives.
No one can predict where or when a shooter or bomber will decide to strike. The creator of the Texas School Guardians app understands what parents know, but law enforcement and school staff never consider – kids always have their phone with them, it’s always on, and it’s never beyond reach. The app is designed to summon help with a single touch.
Now that parents, schools and police know about the app, there’s no reason why they can’t take advantage of it to help protect the children. Our kids are our future, not pawns or a number on a spread sheet. It’s time to give them the tools on the devices they’re connected with to protect them.