On February 14th, 2018, tragedy struck the community of Parkland, Florida when a former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School opened fire and killed 17 people on campus. Immediate responses to the shooting centered on what could have been done to prevent it, and in moving forward, many voices have added recommendations and guidance to the conversation.

In March 2018, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a $88.7 billion state budget deal that includes new money for K-12 schools, mostly for school security and mental health counseling for students. The budget is allocating about $21 billion across the 67 Florida school districts to improve safety. Beyond traditional concepts of security involving officers and barriers, there are proactive and reactive processes schools can invest in to mitigate the stress, tragedy, and miscommunication stemming from something like the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting.

This paper seeks to outline strategies and solutions available to schools wherein technology, information, data, and communication are harnessed to optimize prevention and response to tragedy. It is important to establish proactive measures and reactive tools to provide school personnel and the greater community the resources to best address an atypical, potentially dangerous, school event. ReaXium School Suite is a solution of cloud-based applications that provides schools with an identity and information management system, visibility, and real-time notifications. This summary and the paper it references serves as ReaXium’s response to school safety initiatives spreading across Florida and the U.S.

Proactive vs. Reactive

Proactive simply means being anticipatory. ReaXium takes a strong proactive measure at the school level, by collecting critical information in order to act before tragedy strikes. Under this definition, the collection and management of critical information is a proactive measure by anticipating how this will help mitigate risk in the event of a threat. Critical information refers to data collected about the school, its attendance, and identifying outliers that may interrupt a routine day of school. Alternatively, reactive tools would give schools the greatest chance to respond to a threat. Under this definition, being reactive to critical information means to “take an action” or “to trigger a protocol or procedure” upon receipt of that information. Within schools, there exists a need to deliver notifications in real time to teachers and administrators which will allow them to react appropriately to atypical events. By balancing the two, the school is well-equipped to handle high-stress situations.

In the coming years, as school budgets are shaped by safety requirements and concerns, ReaXium urges communities, administrators, and legislators to harness technology and the power of visibility, mobility, identity, and notifications to bring peace of mind to all. ReaXium School Suite makes for safer schools.

ReaXium School Suite

Central to the ReaXium solution is the management of attendance for students primarily, but extending to faculty, staff, and even visitors. Students authenticate their identity and their attendance is recorded and synced automatically to school records. By knowing who is who, administrators can have full visibility of the presence at their school. Additionally, ReaXium School Suite allows a school to take attendance at any time, anywhere, through mobile biometric devices. Equipping teachers and administrators with these devices means attendance can be taken and updated in real-time from any area of the school. These devices also serve as communication aides and receive notifications within the network. Similarly, the solution allows notifications outside the system, such as to law enforcement or families of the students. The school safety initiatives proposed by ReaXium are:

  • Watchlist Monitoring - By collecting critical information such as attendance, and tying it to behavior or incident reports, school personnel can be more prepared to recognize or alert others of threats within their campus.
  • First Response - The devices can be used to broadcast an alert or silent alarm to others within the system, or even outside the system such as families through the ReaXium App, or security agencies. Broadcasting an informative, time-sensitive alert in an environment of crisis can greatly optimize response time and trigger the necessary protocols for keeping students safe.
  • Realtime Notifications - Proactively, all stakeholders such as administrators, teachers, and even families are kept updated in real-time of their students’ attendance through notifications. However, in the event of a broadcasted alert, these stakeholders can also receive real-time notifications of the message and act accordingly. For instance, teachers across school can be notified to follow a specific protocol in the face of a alerted threat.

ReaXium School Suite - Value Proposition

Current systems of attendance management are largely manual, and often, this data can be inaccurate or delayed, causing a delay in reporting for other administrative personnel or even directly to the student’s family. With ReaXium School Suite, student attendance can now provide a robust and comprehensive understanding of a school. Attendance is taken quickly using the ReaXium Device’s application and accurately authenticates and identifies each student. This data is synced automatically with administrative rosters and families are notified in real time that their student has arrived at school, in class, or however the attendance was categorized.

In fact, the strong notification system of ReaXium School Suite greatly adds value to a school’s legitimacy in communicating with stakeholders. Current systems notify parents or guardians of a student’s absence or tardy through an automated phone call or email, and there is no positive notification of their student’s arrival. In some cases, these notifications can even be delayed due to the backlogged status of most attendance reporting. However, with ReaXium, notifications to parents or guardians are pushed in real-time through the mobile app. Families can be notified as soon as necessary regarding the occurrence of atypical events at school or in their student’s classroom. These notifications can not only be received by parents through the app, but also by fellow teachers or administrators directly through their ReaXium Devices. Now, administrators can broadcast messages directly to a classroom, a specific group of faculty, or all personnel. In an emergency, a teacher can quickly send an alert from their device to notify all other school personnel. With ReaXium School Suite, real-time notifications and connectivity amongst devices, as well as synchronization with the cloud, helps mitigate risks and promote safety.

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Maria Sylvia Riquezes

Specialist @ Technology 4 Solutions & ReaXium

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