Smartphone ‘panic button’ app offered to every Oklahoma school district to help keep students safe

OKLAHOMA CITY - Putting peace of mind in the hands of Oklahoma’s teachers, students, and parents: that's the goal of a new smartphone app provided to school districts across the state.

“The state legislature budgeted a $3 million line item for an innovative safety app, the Rave Panic Button,” State Superintendent of Public Schools Joy Hofmeister said.

With the push of a button, users will simultaneously alert school staff and 911 operators of an emergency.

The app allows users to choose from different emergencies including a fire, medical issue, active shooter or call 911.

The app tracks your phone's location to find out where the button was pressed so first responders know where to go.

“Every school district, 542 of them, will have access to the tools, the 911 center integration as well as the app for every teacher in the state,” Hofmeister said.

So far, 143 districts across Oklahoma are opting in to use the app. Oklahoma City Public Schools is in the process now, but don’t have an estimated time on when it will be implemented.

Norman was the first in the state to start using the rave app. The Norman superintendent says it`s been a collaborative process with law enforcement and administrators.

“Working with 911, working with maps and all of the geofencing and making sure everything is done correctly so that there`s not miscommunication,” Norman Public Schools Superintendent Nick Migliorino said.

He says they`ve already used the app several times.

“We did just yesterday have to use the health notification which is what we use most frequently,” Migliorino said.

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister says this is one way they`re upping security in schools.

“Of course, we know that there is not one single silver bullet tool. All of this has to be discussed around mental health. Providing the kind of support through counselors,” Hofmeister said.

Several other states also use the “Rave” app including Arkansas.

Hofmeister`s goal is for every district to utilize the app by the end of the year.

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