Public schools statewide have an opportunity to strengthen safety and security through an initiative being offered to school districts free of charge. The Rave Panic Button app, provided by Rave Mobile Safety, allows users to simultaneously connect with 9-1-1 and first responders and sends a text alert to school staff in the event of an emergency. The Rave Panic Button is available to all Oklahoma K-12 public schools and 9-1-1 centers to enhance school safety and security.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister and representatives of the education and law enforcement communities discussed the benefits of the Rave Panic Button in a news conference today at Norman North High School. Norman Public Schools implemented the Rave Panic Button last school year.
“Oklahoma schools are not immune to threats, whether in the form of severe weather, fire or a school intruder. Ensuring the safety of every student is our foremost priority,” said Hofmeister. “Children cannot learn unless their basic needs, including a sense of safety, have been met. This is an effective safety enhancement that can be held in the palm of one hand. We are pleased to offer it to our districts and are confident it will help us foster a culture of safety in every school and district where it is utilized.”
When activated, the Rave Panic Button app delivers critical data such as location and school floorplans to 9-1-1 and first responders, enabling them to coordinate a faster, more effective response to any type of school emergency. Offering the system statewide ensures each of Oklahoma’s nearly 700,000 students and more than 85,000 teachers and staff members have uniform protection and that first responders working across multiple jurisdictions can better communicate with schools and one another.
The app has been implemented in all 50 states and is used in local and state school systems in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Arkansas, Louisiana and many others.
Funding for statewide implementation was secured after state leaders added $3 million to the common education budget.
“We live in a day of a great deal of uncertainty, especially when it comes to security in our schools,” said Sen. Roger Thompson, Senate Appropriations Chair. “The Rave Panic Button is a proven resource to assemble first responders immediately. I was honored to be an active part of the conversation that resulted in additional funding for this program.”
“This app will create a safer environment for our children and all who work in our schools by improving response times during emergencies,” said House Appropriations and Budget Chair Kevin Wallace. “Protecting our children while they are in our care is equally as important as ensuring they are receiving a quality education.”
“I’m glad to have been in a position this year to help secure the funding for this panic button app that I know will save lives,” said Rep. Mark McBride, chair of the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee for Education. “In Moore, our schools have faced many severe weather disasters, and having this app in place would have helped school administrators, teachers and staff be more prepared. This will be equally important for other districts that face similar natural disasters or other emergency events.”
“Oklahoma’s future depends on its children, and we owe it to them and to our state to make sure they are able to thrive,” said Sen. Dewayne Pemberton, chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Education. “This technology will give them, their families and their school district an enhanced safety tool so the focus is where it should be – on education.”
At the news conference, Hofmeister was joined by Norman Public Schools District Superintendent Nick Migliorino, Oklahoma 9-1-1 Coordinator Lance Terry, members of the Norman Police Department, Cleveland County Commissioner Darry Stacy, representatives from the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s Office of School Safety and Security, and Rave Mobile Safety vice president Noah Reiter.
The Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association recently endorsed the Rave Panic Button.
“We became aware of the Rave Panic Button school safety program from Arkansas, where it is deployed statewide to over 1,000 schools,” said Ray McNair, executive director of the Oklahoma Sheriff’s Association (OSA). “OSA members endorse this school safety application as a solution that will save lives, and most importantly, will work for all types of school emergencies.”