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Ever since Columbine – the nation’s first major school shooting and attempted bombing – school districts have invested in ways to avoid tragedies in the making, and, should one occur, improve their ability to respond. Increasingly, schools are using technology as part of their integrated security strategy – and that’s where Whooster comes in.
Acts of school violence are rarely spontaneous. Most often, they are carefully planned over weeks and even months – planning that typically leaves behind technological “footprints” of suspicious activity.
Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies have successfully used Whooster’s data solutions for years. When applied to the school setting, Whooster’s proprietary OWL Technology helps support security and prevent school violence. It uses data from public and private sources to produce real-time, accurate information. The data synthesis goes far beyond the basic who, what and where; it integrates, links and matches information from a variety of databases, applications and formats.
One high school sophomore, whom we’ll refer to as “J.B.,” was once a model, high-achieving student. Then, teachers began to notice some out-of-character behavior: late assignments, skipped classes and disappointing test scores. They brought their concerns to the school’s Student Support Team, which included a school resource officer (SRO). While the school psychologist did her own research, the SRO took advantage of Whooster’s capabilities.
Whooster data revealed a disturbing picture of J.B. as someone who frequently visited violent web pages and “friended” students across the nation charged with acts of school violence. It also showed he was bullied: On high school classmates’ social media accounts, J.B. was frequently called out as a “geek” and a “loser.” There were other points of interest uncovered via Whooster technology: J.B. had taken a part-time job at the local home improvement store – something his parents believed contributed to his slumping grades. He quit the job, but not before purchasing, over time and in small amounts, essential materials for a homemade bomb. He paid cash, but his purchasing pattern was traceable because he used his employee discount card. As his 17th birthday approached, J.B. bragged on several social media platforms that “something unforgettable” was coming. All of this information, taken together, was enough for the school to approach law enforcement to pursue a search warrant – which ultimately, prevented J.B. from carrying out his plans.
When violent acts are suspected, school officials need to evacuate students and themselves from campus buildings quickly. Paper files and laptops are left behind. Whooster reports are easy to access no matter where you are – even via text message – yet securely password protected. Educators can be logged into their school platform and still access Whooster data quickly, reliably and securely.
Additionally, Whooster’s neighborhood canvassing tool enables you to select multiple student addresses on a map. Once the locations have been selected, you’re able to identify all individuals and their contact information under each roof, which can prove invaluable should an incident occur.