WCPSS set to try panic-button app

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CARY, N.C. — The Wake County Public School System is exploring phone technology to notify on-site security, emergency first responders and law enforcement if a threat to safety is detected from the classroom. 

What You Need To Know

  • WCPSS will implement the Rave app in April
  • The Rave Guardian app puts alert power in teachers’ hands
  • Rave works by signaling on-site security and traditional first responders
  • Twenty-eight schools were selected

The WCPSS Board of Education revealed a plan to unveil technology new to the district called the Rave Guardian app. The design of the tech puts the equivalent of a handheld panic button in the hands of teachers should they choose to download it.  

“This app, if everyone is signed up to use it, they’ll notify all of those users at the same time when the buttons push. So that’s part of getting back to that speed and efficiency,” said Kendrick Scott, the senior director of security for WCPSS. “It’s not going to take away from the back-end things that we were already doing, but it’s going to add a layer to that speed and efficiency of notification staff and other first responders when we have an emergency on our property.”

Scott and other school district representatives confirmed that 28 schools will implement the app starting in April. The app gives the user to ability to send a push alert from anywhere in a school building to notify the security team on-site and law enforcement responding to a 911 call.

“I hope it is going to be empowering, right? Because it gives them the power to notify not only first responders but others in the building that there’s an emergency,” Scott said. “You’re always looking to improve on any process. Just because we have something that’s working doesn’t mean that we are not going to try to do it better.”

The state’s largest school system will gauge the level of “buy-in” of staff and teachers during the trial period. Board members are in the early stages of exploring this option. The app can geo-pinpoint a user’s location in real-time for on-site security as well as distinguishing the level of crisis as well.

Scott said he hopes the technology is helpful but in no way replaces 911. He said it simply supplements it.

“I think it is more about what our department is thinking about every day. I don’t want the staff to have to worry about and think about that. That’s what we do. What we do is always explore ways to make our processes more efficient and that’s something we spend our time doing, so they don’t have to. Their core job is educating kids. My core job is making sure buildings, students and staff are safe,” Scott said.

Scott said Rave can access triage situations, enhancing what police can respond to in a given scenario. He said you don’t have to download the app to receive a notification, but you must be subscribed to receive a notification.

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