I’m a father and just one of the millions of parents that send their child to school each day, never knowing if they’re going to return home safely - or at all. The number of school shootings continues to increase with ever higher injury and fatality rates. Children that have never personally endured the terror of an active shooter situation are still aware – and they’re afraid.
We no longer send carefree children to school. They’ve lost their innocence and we’ve lost our confidence in the ability to protect them – one of the most important jobs we have as parents. We must now have a different kind of conversation with our children – one that focuses on what to do if the school comes under attack.
Police, parent and educators want solutions and are demanding that schools implement technological means to keep children safe. Surveillance cameras, metal detectors, staff radios, buzz-in entries, and on-site security personnel are only part of a robust prevention and protection protocol. Many of those methods also come with hefty price tags that are beyond a school’s financial means.
The Department of Homeland Security recommends a multi-faceted approach that takes full advantage of technological options. Unfortunately, many schools are being duped into buying complicated systems that are difficult to use and equipment that fails when it’s needed most. The systems are costly to purchase, install and maintain.
Law enforcement faces a variety of challenges when responding to a school shooting. They need to identify the exact location of the shooter as quickly and accurately as possible. Panicked people can give inaccurate information that hinders rescue efforts. In many instances, only a limited number of staff has interschool radios, rending communications ineffective and inefficient.
During the Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, FL educators tried to protect disabled students by evacuating them, only to place them in greater danger with no place to shelter and no way for police to protect them. Trying to determine where the shooter was, staff at the school also rewound video footage without telling police. Precious minutes were lost before police discovered they weren’t viewing a live feed, thereby delaying critical aid to the wounded and dying.
The lights and sounds can reveal where victims are hiding when they use their phone. Schools with private security may have protocols that prevent them from entering an active shooter scene before police arrive. Arming teachers as a deterrent can cause confusion for police on the scene, who may mistake an armed educator for a suspect.
As a father, I felt the need to do whatever I could to protect my own child and others. To do that, I created The Texas Guardians App. It’s easy to use, affordable, and provides police with the essential information they need to locate and stop an active shooter quickly and efficiently. It conforms to the “Run, Hide, Fight” tactics developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The Texas Guardians app has been tested in mock drills under real life conditions. During the drills, police were able to locate and eliminate the threat in less than 5 minutes with The Texas Guardians App.
The App is endorsed by San Juan Police Chief, Juan Gonzalez. Police Chief Gonzalez is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, a Certified Public Manager and Master Peace Officer, and his city’s Law Enforcement Emergency Regional Response Team unit provides specialized SWAT training to Paraguayan Special Forces.
The App also has the approval of Hidalgo Police Chief, Rodolfo “Rudy” Espinoza. A law enforcement officer of 37 years, he recommends the App for use by school districts throughout the nation.
The Texas Guardians App is appropriate for grades K-12 and available for teachers, staff, administration, bus drivers, coaches and school security officers. It uses a single button to call for help instead of the 3 needed to dial 911. Upon being activated, The Texas Guardians App performs a myriad of actions. To keep users safe it:
• Speed dials 911
• Automatically dims the phone’s light to avoid detection
• Silences the phone by placing it in vibrate mode
• Activates the phone’s camera, enabling users to obtain a photo of the suspect if it’s safe to do so
• Issues an intra-school notification
• Alerts all users if a lockdown is initiated
The Texas Guardians App doesn’t stop there. It contains built-in alerts for:
• Medical assistance
• If explosions are heard
• If suspicious activity is observed
• Report a bomb
• Report a stash house
• Disruptive student
• Disgruntled employee
The Texas Guardians App can be customized with the school’s logo and colors to make it appear like an ordinary app on phones. Custom alerts can be created to meet the individual needs of educational institutions.
Nothing in the App is hard wired and it can still summon aid and assistance even if Internet service is unavailable. Free updates and upgrades are included and The Texas Guardians provides installation and technical support. It can be up and running within a day. Updates will continue to be made to adapt and meet future needs and challenges as they arise.
It’s not just schools that are being targeted. Entertainment venues, businesses and places of worship have also been the scenes of mass carnage. Even police are being targeted. No place is immune from the threat of an active shooter.
In June 2018, the FBI released “A Study of the Pre-Attack Behaviors of Active Shooters in the United States Between 2000 and 2013.” It clearly indicates that shooters don’t just wake up one morning and snap. They plan weeks and even months in advance. The Texas Guardians App provides a perfect opportunity to employ Homeland Security’s “If you see something, say something®” campaign.
The Texas Guardians App is primarily for schools and it’s also beneficial for police and border control officers that are required to operate in areas that are unmarked, poorly marked, or remote. When activated, the app pings on an officer’s location whether they’re in a vehicle, on foot or on horseback. Officers can summon aid if they’re injured, threatened, performing search and rescue operations, or working undercover.
As parents and responsible citizens, we must utilize every tool at our disposal to keep our children safe. The Texas Guardians App is designed for that purpose. It meets the guidelines established for school safety technology by Homeland Security and has been proven in field trials to be effective.
Our world and our society have been irrevocably changed by violence. We provide our children with the tools they need to succeed in school. Now it’s time to arm them with the technology they need to be safe.