Virginia Schools Add Threat Alert System
- By Dian Schaffhauser
A Virginia school system has implemented a real-time threat alert system that immediately connects staff in the school building to each other and the nearest law enforcement personnel. Fauquier County Public Schools, which has about 11,300 students, has adopted COPsync911.
The online service allows school faculty and staff to open up a communication channel when a threat surfaces and instantly communicate with every other staff member on campus and notify police or other emergency personnel. All participants can share information about the incident as it unfolds via a "crisis communications portal," which can be pulled up on a computer or a smart device.
As Superintendent David Jeck explained in a video announcing the deployment, "When parents send their children to school, they want to be sure of two things — that their children are learning and that their children are safe. COPsync911is just another tool we have to help ensure the safety of our kids and our staff, and we're very fortunate to have a county that's willing to partner with us."
The district has worked with county public safety personnel on active shooter training and drills. But as Sheriff Robert Mosier noted in the same video, what came to the "forefront" was the "need for real-time communication."
Added Captain Ray Acors, the new program provides "almost instant communications between law enforcement and the person sending that alert. With that information, we can get to that location quicker, assess the situation, and begin communicating with people in the classrooms."
In the same geographic area, the private Highland School and Wakefield School have also begun using the service.
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.