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Indiana schools using app to help with school safety

panic button app.PNG
Posted at 7:10 PM, Aug 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-11 12:06:56-04

HANCOCK COUNTY— Teachers in several districts now have a high-tech tool to get help and keep their students safe.

It's something at least one teacher is worried is making it tough to hire qualified educators.

"There are a lot more weights to carry in 2022 as an educator," said Laken Rosing. "They wanted to be an educator and they didn't necessarily want to be a police officer or a security guard or an EMT."

Rosing has been teaching for 10 years with nine of those years at Greenfield Central High School.

She says being a teacher is fulfilling, but not always easy.

"It's fulfilling in ways that you can't be fulfilled in other ways," she said. "It's a heavy weight; I've had students ask me if I'd be willing to die for them."

Rosing called that a burden, but added it's one she is happy to carry.

"That is a really hard conversation to have, it's hard to even think about because I have two kids at home, I have a husband, I have family. But ultimately that's one of the things we are agreeing to when we step into that classroom is to protect those kids," said Rosing.

Rosing thinks that plays a role in the bigger picture, the mass divergence of educators leaving the profession and the lack of interest in new teachers.

Not only are teachers tasked with educating and being role models to students, they're also there to protect them, knowing at any given moment the unthinkable could happen.

The Hancock County school district is working to ensure the safety of everyone in the school with things like locked entrances, school resource officers and the panic button.

"We're trying to be proactive instead of reactive as much as we can," Jason Cary, the principal of Greenfield Central, said.

Every teacher in the county is equipped with an app called the "panic button" which sends an automatic push notification to Hancock County 911.

The administrator can pick what type of emergency it is and the app will send a geo-fence location to the dispatcher.

"Most cases we've seen within 30 seconds we have either a police department or fire department started to them," said Greg Duda with Hancock County 911.

Whether it be a medical, fire or police emergency, the panic button is there as an added crayon to their art box.

It's something administrators hopes gives teachers in the district peace of mind.

"Peace of mind definitely makes it easier for us to do our actual jobs. To actually teach and engage with these students," said Rosing. "Peace of mind is something that you can not put a value on, not a numerical value anyway."

The funding for the program comes from the county, so it does not impact school budgets.