The Eastern Pulaski School Board last night enthusiastically approved the use of an app to increase safety and improve communication with authorities. Teachers and other authorized staff members can use School Guard to immediately summon police officers within a 25-mile radius of the campus to respond to an active shooter.
Eastern Pulaski Superintendent Dan Foster told the school board that administrators, local law enforcement and emergency management officials recently got a demonstration of the software, which included the audio of the 911 call from Sandy Hook Elementary. He says the delay of almost two-and-a-half minutes between the 911 call and the initial response was sobering. The School Guard app could reduce that time to mere seconds.
Foster adds students will not be able to use the app to summon the police. That power will be restricted to faculty and staff, who will be issued secure codes to interact with the system.
Pulaski County Sheriff Jeff Richwine has agreed to cover the setup cost for both Eastern Pulaski and West Central Schools and pay for the first year’s monitoring with money from his commissary fund. Foster says installation should take place within the next month or so.
“You hate to think that we would ever need it, but especially if Sheriff Richwine is willing to absorb the cost at least the first year, that’s an opportunity to protect our students and staff,” Foster said.
Faculty and staff will receive training on how the app works before it goes live in the school. Foster says it can also be set up for internal notifications to the principal or another designated faculty member in the event of a fight or other problem in a classroom.
The West Central School Board last week approved the use of the app in their corporation as well.