The growing number of school shootings has made many turn to mobile apps for solutions. There has already been eight school shootings this year alone. Following the recent Parkland High School shooting in Florida earlier this month that killed 17 high school students, surviving scholars of the massacre are developing a mobile app to prevent violence from taking place in the future. The main proponent of this technology is Marjorly Stoneman High’s own Junior Class President, Jaclyn Corin, who tweeted her plans to Florida Attorney General, Pam Bondi, last Friday.
I am working with the Attorney General of FL and a few of my fellow classmates to formulate a “see something, say something” app. It will be monitored 24/7 by law enforcement.
— Jaclyn Corin (@JaclynCorin) February 23, 2018
In addition Tampa-based startup, PikMyKid has recently included a ‘Panic Button’ that sends GPS coordinates to law enforcement while turning on the phone’s mic for easier communication. CEO and Founder, Pat Bhava, told 10News that PikMyKid’s mobile app is already adopted in 190 schools nationwide.
Nick Buddemeyer, PikMyKid Marketing Account Manager, told the Scope Weekly during a phone interview that “they plan to expand school safety features on their mobile app and are currently working on AI and smart machine technology that monitors social media and alerts local authorities when they detect suspicious activity/behavior.”
When asked about the ethics of monitoring students unknowingly, he assured us that they do “not allow 24/7 surveillance or tracking and want to keep as much privacy as possible while providing enough safety as you can.”
Buddemeyer believes that in addition to mobile apps, emergency training curriculums such as their partner group, DPREP, may offer solid solutions to school shootings. However, given the ripe development of school shootings in the U.S. Buddemeyer that all options have to be explored and he told us:
Solutions to school shootings is something we will have to learn, adapt to and be open-minded to.
Safe 2 Tell
Although mobile apps focused on school shooting prevention have gained momentum in recent years, the framework has been in place since the beginning. The 1999 school shooting in Columbine, Colorado set the stage for an anonymous tip application known still to this day as Safe 2 Tell. It is managed by the Colorado Attorney General Office and directs alerts to the Colorado State Patrol. Within days following the Parkland shooting, an upward of 150 tips of school shootings were reported through the app.
Another app was launched shortly after the Sandy Hook School Shooting in December of 2012. The anonymous tipping application, Say Something, was created through the non-profit Sandy Hook Promise. They currently have 7 school districts across the country utilizing their school shooting prevention technology and are in the process of recruiting 23 additional cities as well.
This mobile app connects users to law enforcement during times of emergency and notifies both on and off duty federal, state and local authorities. This is done via their built-in panic button which also alerts all teachers and staff on campus along with surrounding schools in the area. It also has additional features such as “Principal Push” that gives school administrators the opportunity to send private messages to all School Guard users. There is also a page for admins to upload the school’s exclusive response plan for students to follow during a crisis situation.
As we continue down the timeline of our modern era, humanity encounters unexpected situations such as a rise in school shootings across the country. Fortunately, technology has granted staff and law enforcement an opportunity to improve these conditions through mobile apps designed to expedite response time, build networks of communication and offer resources for schools and students alike. As news of gun control and arming teachers fill the airwaves, mobile apps stand as a practical solution that can be easily implemented and embraced by students everywhere.
You may also want to read last year’s story, As The Public Mourns Orlando Shooting, Anti-Gun Startups Are On High Alert.
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