Colleges and universities started using an SMS service to communicate with students and faculty since the shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007. This system helps everyone on campus know if classes are canceled or there is suspicious activity. The success these institutions led other school districts to implement their own text alerts program.
The latest school-related scare happened at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Georgia, Tuesday afternoon. A man entered the school's premises and held staff members hostage in the office. Michael Hill is the suspect who asked the individuals to report the incident, according to a local ABC affiliate.
School bookkeeper Antoinette Tuff talked to Hill during her time in the office with him, and eventually her conversation with the man led to his surrender.
"He said that he didn't have any reason to live and that he knew he was going to die today," Tuff told the source."I knew that if he got out that door he was gonna kill everybody."
After the situation at the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy calmed down, local parents were upset that the district did not utilize their emergency text messaging service, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. School officials thought that informing local news stations would have been more effective than sending out the mass messages to parents.
"Some aspects of the population have greater access to social media than others," DeKalb County Superintendent Michael Thurmond explained to the source. "Not all parents in the beginning of the year provided us with information through which they could be contacted electronically."
Thurmond also told a CBS affiliate that he did not want to inform parents and guardians immediately until he gathered enough information.
Schools and other businesses can benefit from an emergency text service because it can inform many people in a short time period. For example, if a school had to issue a last minute early release due to impending weather, it can get to most parents and guardians sooner because only some of them may have access to a television at work.
Other communities that wish to establish their own emergency text service can do so with the support of Swift SMS Gateway. With a large team of developers, Swift has the tools you need to get a program that works your own city or town.