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« Teaching Students By Building Sand Dams To Change Environment | Main | North Ridge Students Break "Souper Bowl" Record »
Monday
Feb112019

Kings Park SD Uses Latest Technology Preparing For School Emergencies 

Kings Park Central School District Improves Response Times for School Emergencies Leveraging Powerful Technology 

District already seeing improved staff communication and faster emergency response one year after the Parkland tragedy, district shares lessons learned

Kings Park, NY, February 11, 2019 – As active shooter situations and school safety concerns continue to dominate national headlines, Suffolk County, NY has taken a proactive approach and implemented proven best practices and award-winning technology to continue to improve school safety. By adopting and utilizing the Rave Panic Button application, the school district has the ability to send critical response data to 9-1-1 call takers and first responders with the push of a button, giving them tools to coordinate a faster and more effective response. The mobile application also provides the invaluable service of internal staff communication during a routine or critical event to keep staff informed in real-time. 

After the tragic school shooting in Parkland, FL this time last year, Kings Park Central School District was moved to take decisive action to enhance its communications, preparedness and response capabilities to help ensure that it could better protect students in the event of a similar emergency. Since the implementation of this technology, staff across the school district have improved the speed and accuracy of communication between teachers, administrators, emergency responders, and local authorities. During the 2018-2019 school year, the district has already witnessed first-hand the benefits of Rave Panic Button. Examples have included a medical emergency, a student in psychiatric distress, and reports of a suspicious person on campus disrupting dismissal. By working together with 9-1-1 and local authorities all three incidents were handled swiftly and without incident. 

“We are an institution of learning and we must create an environment in which our students feel safe and comfortable to spend their days pursuing their education, not worrying about life-threatening violence,” said Dr. Timothy Eagen, Superintendent of Kings Park Central School District. “Through the implementation of this technology as well as other efforts including expanding the capabilities of our security guards, new door locking systems, and improved visitor management technologies/protocols, our schools will remain a safe haven for the young people in our community.”  

Superintendent Eagen urges communities across the country to continue to review their school safety practices and offers the following advice for organizations looking to enhance their technology and safe guards in place:

  • Real-time internal communication – when reviewing the after-action reports from Parkland, FL, Superintendent Eagen recognized how communication from one floor to another could have saved lives. He encourages schools to utilize easy to use internal communication tools that will facilitate sharing information in real-time.  Finding the right technology that can notify all staff immediately can improve situational awareness and can spur fast action.
  •  Partner with local police department – school districts shouldn’t tackle school safety alone. Schools should work very closely with local police department so they know the processes and protocols in place. Ongoing communication with the local police department makes a big impact for emergency planning and response. 
  • Ask for references – if you are evaluating a new hardware or technology, it can be difficult to identify newer less proven solutions in the space. Ask the vendor for references to help identify any challenges and/or roadblocks or areas you haven’t considered.
  • Focus on mental health – ongoing efforts need to include a two pronged approach that focuses on both safety/security and the mental health of our students and staff.  Incidents like Parkland, Florida are considered targeted school violence, where the attacker is specifically coming to the school to enact violence.  We need to make sure that every student has at least one trusted adult in their school that they can talk to, and we need to rid our schools of bullying and harassment once and for all.  

“Our teachers now feel more empowered by the knowledge that they are informed in real-time of all on-campus situations and have the support to act accordingly,” said Dr. Eagen. “The feedback from the community has been overwhelmingly positive, as both first responders and parents are pleased with our efforts to further protect our students and allow them to go about doing what they come to school to do - LEARN.” 

Moving forward, the Kings Park Central School District will continue to work closely with the Suffolk County Police Department and Homeland Security to reevaluate technologies, visitor management, and emergency protocols in an ongoing effort to best ensure the safety of our children.


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