Poughkeepsie high school and middle school were closed on Tuesday and Wednesday this week after threats of a school shooting surfaced online. In the face of what has unfortunately become a perennial worry for parents and students, the school district announced several safety updates, including an investment in a new and interesting technology to help address increasing concerns.

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Unfortunately Nothing New

Sadly, these worries have been around for decades. I was about to enter Rondout Valley High School when the tragic Columbine shooting shocked our country and sent schools and other large public places scrambling for solutions. I remember the rise (and fall) of mandated clear backpacks, safety drills, and even the Hudson Valley Mall briefly banning shopping bags from their movie theaters. Over 20 years later, we seem to still be trying to tackle the same issue. Will this new attempt give us different results?

Changes in Poughkeepsie

The district announced that metal detectors would be implemented as students returned today, as well as bag searches. They also announced plans for an increased "safety monitor" and resource officer presence in both the middle and high schools. Good to see steps being taken, but they sound so similar to actions in the past. It seems, though, that they're looking to the future as well.

Plans for the Future

There's a new digital safety development. A technology company called Gaggle, which provides "student safety that saves lives", according to their website, is adding Poughkeepsie schools to their client list. Their solutions include "Safety Management":

Machine learning technology flags concerning content in students’ school-issued accounts for review and blocks potentially harmful content... Gaggle helps K-12 districts see the early warning signs so they can take action to protect students from harming themselves or others—before it’s too late

How effective this technology will be in Poughkeepsie is of course yet to be seen, but it's refreshing to see districts like Poughkeepsie trying some new solutions to a plaguing problem.

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