The Big Eight on School Safety Technology

April 9, 2018

CrisisGo is incredibly excited about the release of Safe Classroom. Our free program gives every school district a chance to make serious strides in school safety by putting an emergency alerting and safety communication app on every computer in the district. Today we have a special treat in the form of a blog post by our Chief Product Officer, Jim Spicuzza.

Jim is a co-founder of CrisisGo, an emergency alerting, crisis communication, and incident reporting company. CrisisGo has been chosen by over 14,000 schools across the U.S. to provide a cutting-edge technology platform for improving school safety. Jim also promotes empowering each stakeholder in the organization to participate in improving their own safety and the safety of others.

The Big Eight on School Safety Technology

By Jim Spicuzza

On February 14, 2018, a mass shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. It saddens me that students in schools have to deal with challenges that no child should have to face at their age. I applaud all students who are now empowered to make a change in school safety.

Technology is changing every aspect of our lives, but many schools still use outdated tools and practices. “Don’t change something if it isn’t broken” is the rule I hear from safety leaders in many organizations. The reality is that today’s risks are not easily prevented or responded to with the same response tools and protocols that worked in the past. Modern risks, like cyberbullying, AR-15s, bombings, and more, have one thing in common — the risks are becoming automated, while our response is old-school.

What often happens when school violence is severe and makes the national news is that a conversation starts around quick fixes. Schools are glad to spend government funds on safety, but they also understand that when this money is gone, they will have to find more money in their current underfunded budget, and we repeat the cycle. In contrast, safety at the Walt Disney Parks is not an accident: It’s a system of technology and training that allows for guests and staff to enjoy their environment while also being safe.

Technology can do the same for schools. In order to improve school safety culture, we have to commit to realistic change. Here’s what you can do:

1.    Systematically keep safety awareness in front of school stakeholders.

2.    Build strong relationships with responders and regularly share information on risks.

3.    Provide targeted safety messages that are actionable to each stakeholder. When all stakeholders react as planned, the opportunity for an effective response gets much higher. Don’t trust that safety messages will be noticed on social media channels or other platforms that don’t focus on safety.

4.    Deploy an emergency communication platform for fast alerting and continuous communication during a serious incident.

5.    Increase training on school safety for staff and students with a focus on early risk recognition and reporting.

6.    Deploy an electronic safety reporting system to address bullying and harassment. Frequently remind stakeholders about the need to report. Respond rapidly when a situation is reported.

7.    Don’t be afraid of too much data. Many organizations are fearful that too many incidents will be reported, and they will not have the capacity to respond. Effective change cannot happen without quality data. Rely on technology to prioritize risk if the volume of reporting is higher than your capacity to respond.

8.    Analyze the incidents reported. Dedicate time to seriously look at the data, change protocols to reduce known risk, and keep at it. Your safety plan is never done.

The administration and staff at your school already have an enormous amount of work to do. The automation of safety can provide powerful tools to assist each stakeholder in playing their important role in school safety. Is it time for change at your district?

Jim Spicuzza

Chief Product Officer – CrisisGo

Jim Spicuzza