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South Florida school districts use new apps to keep students safe

Posted: 4:28 PM, Aug 12, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-12 16:54:08-04
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VERO BEACH, Fla. — While school leaders say student safety has always been paramount, it's taken on added meaning in recent years after tragedies like the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018.

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In Indian River County, another emergency communication tool is coming online.

At the Freshman Learning Center in Vero Beach, Assistant Principal Robyn Bethel eased the transition for her nearly 800 newcomers on Monday.

"The first week, you just want things to go well," said Bethel, whose campus has visible new security measures like a single-point entry lobby.

By the end of the month, another less visible one will be in place: an app called Rave.

"The Rave app gives us the opportunity to press a button and notify all the pertinent parties," said Bethel.

Veteran English teacher Yvonne Gittens said she likes that it's very specific to individual emergencies.

"So if we have a medical emergency, that’s the button I’m going to select versus a fire," said Gittens.

It’s important to note that the Rave app is only for staff members. For parents and students, the app to download is Fortify Florida, which allows you to report school related suspicious activity.

“If you as a parent, or our children don’t feel safe, it’s impossible to educate them," said Bethel.

The new Rave app will allow school leaders to place what they call an extra blanket of security around their students.

In Palm Beach County, the district uses Parentlink to call, email, and text updates to parents. That's why school leaders want parents to provide the most up-to-date contact information they can.

In St. Lucie County, the district is implementing its own emergency mass notification system that also features panic buttons for staff members.

In Martin County, the school district supports three safety apps including the district's own app that routes tips to school administrators, the Director of Safety and Security, and school resource officers.