Missouri School District Heightens School Emergency Response & Communication
Are you a parent of school-age children, a school board member, a teacher, or any other member of school staff, wondering how to keep your kids and students safe while at school? Maybe you’ve been considering a school-wide panic button or mobile safety app for emergency situations but you’re not sure where to start and which one to choose. If any of this sounds familiar, take a look at how one Missouri school district implemented SchoolGuard® and other safety measures to ramp-up security and emergency response times, and allow students, staff, and families to stay focused on learning.
The Community Got Involved & Helped Create Safer Schools
In 2017, the school district’s community made it clear that it wanted safe, secure, and well-maintained school facilities and believed these to be vital to a high-quality education. To support the community’s wishes, the Board of Education placed a No-Tax Increase Bond Issue on the spring 2019 ballot, for which $3 million of the $24.5 million proposed would go to increased security and safety at all thirteen campuses. Not surprisingly, the bond issue passed by 73.31%! By July 2019, SchoolGuard was implemented, along with other important safety and security measures, to protect 6500 students and 800 staff like never before.
Why This District Chose Guard911
As part of an increased security plan, the district had already researched panic buttons, safety apps, and technology before the bond passed to know what it would cost and how it would work. They also brought in several safety app vendors to assess their systems, and ultimately chose Guard911’s SchoolGuard app.
When asked why they chose SchoolGuard, Dr. Todd Culbertson, Assistant Superintendent of Facilities, said, “First, no other company has a network of thousands of on-call, on and off duty law enforcement officers. Our schools are rural and spread out geographically, so 911 call response times can be longer than most. This Hero911 service gives us peace of mind that a nearby first responder can be there fast when needed. We also like how affordable it is and how easy the 911 speed dial and Principal Push™ features are. We’ve used these already.”
No other app has over 65,000 nationwide, active and retired officers on-call who can respond immediately, usually before 911 first responders are dispatched. This feature, made possible through the free Hero911® app, has already saved lives.
SchoolGuard Works for All Emergencies
When school staff first used the 911 speed-dial and Principal Push features, they found the reduction in notification and response time and the immediate communication very beneficial. When asked what Dr. Culbertson considers the best app feature, he could not choose just one. “Among the other features noted, we like the fact that it’s usable on any smartphone and very simple to operate – even in panic situations. It isn’t complicated with a bunch of bells and whistles that we don’t need, which is helpful in an emergency – it’s not always easy to think straight in stressful situations.”
Other Safety & Security Measures Included in the Bond
It is important to note, aside from SchoolGuard, they also implemented other safety and security measures in over one-million square feet of building space. These measures include entryway electronic security, exterior glass safety film, and ballistic glass on certain windows. All buildings and windows are now numbered, central office is locked down, and new video surveillance cameras and management systems have been installed. A visitor management system that runs a background check on every visitor before he or she enters the school has been implemented and school bus GPS technology is being researched.
Additionally, two years prior, the school district began a monthly lunch-and-learn with local first responders. At these luncheons, they discuss current safety issues, make plans, and communicate to keep everyone up to speed on what is happening in the community and in the realm of safety. They also hold active intruder training in accordance with the Missouri state statute, and realistic drills for employees to prepare them for the worst-case scenario.
We take care of our kids – whatever it takes to do that and whatever it takes to upgrade to that to make it better.” Sheriff John Cottle, April 2019 Prop KIDS video
How Do Other Schools Implement SchoolGuard?
When asked how other schools could go about implementing SchoolGuard and get the funding for it, Dr. Culbertson replied, “The affordability of SchoolGuard made it a logical choice. It’s too important not to have it. The research around this was already in the works, and it made sense to include it in the portion of our no-tax bond issue designated to improving our school safety. If you’ve been contemplating a school-safety app or panic button, like SchoolGuard, go for it.”
We’re believers in SchoolGuard. We hope to never have to use it for an active assailant situation, but we do use it for our drills and other emergencies, and we know it works.” – Dr. Todd Culbertson, Assistant Superintendent of Facilities
SchoolGuard Allows the Focus to Be on Learning
We are so pleased to have this Missouri school district in our Guard911® family. As the second-largest employer in the county and one of the biggest student populations in the state, it is a model for what other schools can accomplish when they put safety and security first and allow children to focus on learning. Ready to get started with SchoolGuard? It’s easy – simply contact our helpful team today, [email protected], 618-973-9174.