HOUSTON — When there’s an emergency at school, like an active shooting, every second counts when getting help. One school in Houston has a new tool to get help fast exactly where it’s needed.
St. Francis Episcopal School is home to about 830 young minds ranging from 2-year-olds to the 10th grade.
“Our school is a joyful happy place,” said Head of School Steve Lovejoy. “We want it to feel great for them to come to school."
St. Francis is a place where, like most schools, the job of educators reaches far beyond education.
“For parents, they are trusting that they are letting their kids off at school and they are going to pick them up,” Lovejoy said.
Last year, more than 100 people were either killed or injured in school shootings nationwide. Lovejoy said in wake of the incidents, their security continues to evolve and over the past several years has become a main focus.
“When we were in school, you don’t even remember security and certainly when I started as a teacher 25 years ago it really wasn’t a big concern, and now it has been,” he said.
Last year, Lovejoy brought the Enseo MadeSafe device to St. Francis. It’s a button worn around every staff member’s neck. If there’s an emergency, they hold the button down which sends out an alert. The device is able to connect with staff or police.
“It tells us what employee has activated the device, where they are located and then our procedure is to go and respond and act accordingly,” he said.
The creator, Vanessa Ogle, is from Texas. It’s currently used in 12 Texas schools, 11 of which are public. Lovejoy says the device is a game-changer and it is already being used during medical emergencies.
“Before it was all based-on drills and procedures but now with the MadeSafe device, we are able to utilize technology to really help us respond in a much quicker fashion,” he said.
It’s an extra tool that Lovejoy said helps kids and teachers focus on the classroom so he can worry about safety.
“It is my No. 1 priority. Every morning I wake up and pray for our staff our parents and our students … every day. And I can tell you when we handed out our devices back in our staff meeting in November, our staff appreciated it”
For more information about MadeSafe, click here.