by Baylie Clevenger Over the last few years, gun violence in America has become a broadly controversial topic. School shootings have been particularly controversial, as there are varying opinions about what needs to be done to keep children safe while they are in school. Regardless of any of those opinions, one thing that be agreed upon: keeping children in school safe is of the utmost importance. School officials around the country are scrambling to find the next way to protect students and staff. There have been stories of bulletproof backpacks, safe room installations, and even a panic button app. For Mt. Vernon High School, about an hour away from Ball State, the utilization of such technology has become a prominent part of employee training. Recently, faculty and staff have been trained on how to use the Rave Panic Button. This app connects users, specifically teachers and other school staff members, to authorities and emergency services with just the touch of a button. “Each teacher received training on how to use the app last year during our prep period. At the training, we had to download the app as well as run through all of the functions of the app,” said Shannon Schiller, a teacher at Mt. Vernon. “After the training, we were told to use the app if the need arises. The school brought in trainers who work for the app company in order to make sure we could ask questions and get instruction directly from the source.” There has been an exceptional amount of discourse surrounding what the solution to school shootings is. Whether that be new gun legislation or provisions like this app, something that is agreed upon across the board is that something needs to be done to keep students in this country safer. This app, as well as similar technologies, are being used in states across the nation. For example, Arkansas has implemented the use of this same app statewide. Use of this app has also been reported in Michigan and Florida. There is something to be said for an app that would improve student's overall safety. “The app allows staff members to get in touch with emergency agencies outside the school, so it basically eliminates some of the wait time that would ensue if we have to contact administrators first. It also allows us to let emergency services know what is happening in case the administration office is not able to,” said Schiller. Many schools are mainly concerned with how to protect students and ensure that they can get an education without a lingering fear of harm of any kind. “The Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation takes student and staff safety as our number one priority. We frequently update our crisis plan and are continually examining ways to improve safety for our students and staff. The app is one more safety tool to be used in the classroom if necessary,” said Maria Bond, the Mt. Vernon Director of Community Relations. An app like Rave could be the future of emergency safety in schools, especially in the instance of an active shooter. “I would not be at all surprised if this app or similar ones start being used by schools. The ideology behind it seems very sound. I think everyone is for anything that makes it easier to report and respond to emergencies,” said Schiller. The Rave Panic Button app is just a small look into the added safety that technology could bring to schools around the country.
Sources: Detroit News, TC Palm Images: ABC News, Rave Mobile Safety, Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation Featured Image: CNBC