Industry News


Blackboard Launches School Safety Tool to Aid in Crisis Management

By Henry Kronk
November 28, 2018

Tech-based school safety products and services have exploded in 2018. Numerous institutions and districts have expanded their security camera arrays, equipped their facilities with IoT-style locks and doors, and have tapped AI-based monitoring systems to keep track of it all. But with various systems performing various tasks, managing it all can prevent a challenge. On Wednesday, Blackboard announced a new platform, SafetyList that helps schools communicate and coordinate during dangerous situations.

Blackboard SafetyList

To create the platform, Blackboard got help from Groupdolists, a company that provides numerous solutions for collaborative teamwork. SafetyList is intended as a go-to platform for all things crisis. It stores itemized action plans, can be used to communicate to various groups and individuals, and records everything in a continuous audit trail so that teams can review their crisis response performance and identify what, if anything, went wrong.

“To be such a critical component in the Blackboard SafetyList platform is a testament to our mission to help protect people, assets, and reputation during unexpected incidents,” says Michael J. Sher, CEO of Groupdolists, in a statement. “Our team is incredibly passionate about building tools that help organizations mobilize and coordinate response teams better, smarter and faster than ever before, and the fit with SafetyList makes so much sense.”

SafetyList joins Blackboard’s existing school safety offerings. The LMS provider already offers institutions integrated control and viewing of school security cameras and provides an active incident website to which individuals can refer during events. In addition, Blackboard allows for lock and control access for platform-synched doors.

Responding to an Incident

Most of these services are also developed for mobile use. An administrator or school security officer, therefore, could run air traffic control from a safe location.

“Maintaining a safe and secure learning environment for students and staff is a top priority for school district leaders nationwide, but many of them are struggling with how to navigate the complex safety challenges in today’s environment,” said Marc Rubner, Vice President of Product Management and Marketing at Blackboard, in a statement. “Blackboard is proud to offer robust tools that help school systems use the power of technology to meet these needs. We look forward to working with school districts nationwide to assist them with their safety and security efforts.”

While many ambitious products have emerged in 2018 in response to the hundreds of school shootings and incidents that have already occurred, increasing avenues of communication stand to make a difference as well.

As Athena Security CTO Chris Ciabarra put it in a separate interview, “A lot of times people bleed out if the paramedics don’t get there fast enough. Every second counts. If we can get there fast enough, even if they do end up shooting somebody, hopefully we can save the lives of the victims. I’m not saying this is going to save every single conflict out there, but I know it’s going to help some of them. The goal is to help all and eventually we’ll get there. For now it’s another form of protection for schools and for offices.”

Featured Image: Feliphe Schiarolli, Unsplash