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Tech that protects: CNY school to use app to increase student safety

Navigate Prepared, an app designed to help make schools safe

Dan Cech is just like any other parent. He worries about the safety of his two daughters who attend Brewerton Elementary in the Central Square School District.

"We need to do everything that we can to protect our students,” Cech said.

The Central Square School District is one of many in central New York taking a hard look at security in the wake of February's deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

The first step they are taking is using a new app that could alert staff of a threat with the touch of a button.

"Navigate Prepared is an app that allows us, allows any staff member to be able to initiate a lockdown,” said Central Square Superintendent Thomas Colabufo.

If there is an emergency situation, the app allows staff members to request emergency help by the tap of the button.

The superintendent said the app is designed to work in tandem with local law enforcement, so that call to 911 doesn't need to be made saving precious time.

Staff members send a mass text alerting other teachers and school personnel to a threat.

"And then they can say it looks like there is an intruder trying to enter the west part of the building so people on the east part would be aware of that and then they would actually be able to then evacuate,” Colabufo said.

The app also provides building and safety plans and the superintendent Tom Colabufo is confident this could save lives.

"It can happen anywhere so we have to do everything we can possibly do and never be satisfied with what we have safety and security," Colabufo said. "We always have to again stay a step ahead."

The total price tag for the app is $12,000, but state money paid for a majority of that, with the district only needing to fork over $3,000.

For Cech, the investment is worth it for a little more peace of mind.

“To make sure what we do makes sense and is going to improve the safety and security for our children for the staff in the district,” said Cech.

The superintendent said they are training staff and working with law enforcement this summer.

The app should be fully functional and in use by the fall.

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