CONKLIN, Mich. – (June 10, 2014) — A former west Michigan teacher has been developing a smart phone app that one school said will change the way they communicate during an active lock down.
Trinity Lutheran School in Conklin said that the software called Active Shelter is easy to use and have already conducted safety drills with local law enforcement.
While they hope they never have to use it in a real situation, they said events like what happened in Oregon on Tuesday serves as a reminder that you can never be too prepared.
“Why didn’t I think of this? Of course I’m not a techy, but there’s an app for everything now, why not an app for safety?” asked school administrator Terri Kober.
Trinity Lutheran School said that it will become the first school in the country to use the smart phone app developed by a former Reeth’s Puffer High School science teacher Mark McDonald.
“I first heard about the app on channel 17 and I was just like wow. He has a really good idea. Why didn’t I think of this because I sit through this same situation, and wow this is going to be huge,” said Kathleen Zimmer.
Zimmer teaches 4th and 5th grades at the school. She said that even a drill can cause panic inside the classroom.
“As an educator, sitting in the classroom with ten to 25 kids there with you, with the door locked, off in a corner not knowing what’s going on outside in the hallway or the rest of the building. It’s torture.”
As we first showed you in February, the software is downloaded on a smart phone. A teacher would create a profile with their classroom location and the names of their students. In the event of an active shooter situation, the school or county dispatchers can place the building on lock down by sending a push alert to its users. The staff member is then prompted to select ‘secure’ or ‘not secure’ for themselves and their students. If a teacher doesn’t respond, that would be a sign that the classroom might be in disstress.
“At least I could know if this was real or a drill or what to tell these kids that are staring at me going, ‘What does this mean Mrs. Zimmer?’” recalled Zimmer.
Active Shelter is now available in the Apple Store, and McDonald is charging schools three dollars a year per student for the service.
The application allows for law enforcement to access to the program and know in real time how many students may be at risk, and where they are located in the building.
Active Shelter’s inventor, Mark McDonald said that the shooting at Reynolds High School outside of Portland serves as another reminder of how school can never be to prepared for the unthinkable.
“Another instance where the reality of those drills that we as teachers have sat through all of a sudden comes alive right there in your building,” said McDonald.