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Leon County Schools ahead of the curve with new Alyssa’s Alert mobile system

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 4:45 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 27, 2021 at 4:58 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Beginning this school year, all school districts across Florida are required to activate a mobile panic alert system, known as Alyssa’s Alert, in honor of one of the victims of the 2018 Parkland shooting.

Three years have passed since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, but the memory of that day lives on. On Monday, the school’s public safety commission met to discuss implementation of Alyssa’s Law in various districts across the state.

The Leon County School district is ahead of the game: While many districts only recently implemented the system, Leon County has had one in place for about two years.

Local schools use the rave panic button, which allows school staff to quickly call 911 and also alert all other staff on campus in the event of an emergency.

The app is available to every LCS staff member.

“We can’t always wait until it’s needed. Sometimes we have to act before we see that there’s a problem here,” said Jason Ryals, LCS’ Safety Analyst.

Although LCS has only had to use their mobile alert system for a few emergency situation, staff says it provides peace of mind.

“The minute something happens, I have that cell phone in my hand and I can just hold the button down and it will alert everyone,” Shannon Davis, Sabal Palm Elementary School Assistant Principal, explained.

Other schools across the state report that this technology has helped them respond quickly to threats.

“We heard one situation where there was an intruder on campus. Alyssa’s alert was activated, campuses went on lockdown, the students in the, in the area were evacuated, everything went according to plan,” said Sylvia Ifft, with the Department of Education.

As soon as one of the buttons is pushed, dispatchers are notified and can identify the exact building and floor of a potential threat, cutting down on response times that could mean the difference between life and death.

“It’s taking care of everything at one time. Especially in an emergency situation like, heaven forbid, an active assailant situation. We don’t want to have to count on people in a crisis. This gets rid of the panic in a crisis that can make us do things we shouldn’t do,” Ryals expalined.

Leon County Schools invested about $65,000 in initial implementation of its mobile panic alert system. Now that these systems are required, the Department of Education will cover continuing costs of the technology.

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