The SchoolGuard app has been adopted by schools nationwide not only for its communication directly with local law enforcement via the Hero911 app but also as a way to have a convenient internal communications system separate from a traditional PA system.
By placing a panic button in the hands of all approved school faculty and staff members, the main goal is to reduce law enforcement response times in an active shooter situation. Though this is the main feature of SchoolGuard and our affiliate apps, the app does so much more.
Bill Ferrell, a School Security Resource Officer at Calvary Christian Academy in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and a retired law enforcement officer with over 28 years of experience, adopted the SchoolGuard app two years ago and has used the lesser known features of SchoolGuard before.
In addition to the panic button alerts, SchoolGuard has a Principal Push feature, which possesses the capability for principals and select staff, like Officer Ferrell, to send a group message or warnings to all SchoolGuard users.
The Calvary Christian Academy first utilized the Principal Push feature after they purchased the app and trained their 600 employees on the technology.
Every year, the school puts on a “Premiere Day”, where about 3,000 students and their families visit the school to find their locker locations, see the classrooms and familiarize themselves with the school building before school officially starts.
In the sea of attendees was an autistic child, a brother of one of the students. According to his mother, she turned her back for a few seconds and suddenly he was gone. After 30-40 minutes of searching for the child, no one could find him. That’s were Officer Ferrell and his team stepped in.
Officer Ferrell first met with the parents and asked questions about the boy and where he was last seen. His team then panned out to start a manual search. Again, no sign of the boy.
At this point they turned to SchoolGuard for help spreading the word. Officer Ferrell pushed out a message to all employees who were on school grounds during the event.
“Within five minutes of me sending out the message, I got a phone call on my cell from a teacher who received the SchoolGuard push message, saying she remembers seeing a boy who fit the description on the fourth floor, he was last seen on the second floor,” said Ferrell.
Officer Ferrell asked a teacher to retrace her steps to see if she could discover where the young boy had gone. A few minutes later she found him in a classroom on the fourth floor.
“It was definitely a moment of celebration for us because we were able to successfully utilize SchoolGuard to find the missing child and get him into the arms of his parents quickly,” said Ferrell. “It cut down the response time in this situation, I will be using these feature in the future for cases like this.”
Another way Ferrell’s school utilizes SchoolGuard features is during active shooter drills and fire drills to send procedure reminders to faculty and staff.
“Using the app during these drills allows us to communicate to the body of over 600 employees effectively, without relying on the PA system where it can get tough to hear directions,” said Ferrell.
In addition to being an active shooter emergency alert app, SchoolGuard provides an essential internal communications network permitting faculty and staff to solve crucial problems at a moment’s notice.
To learn more about SchoolGuard and all of its features click here.