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McAllen ISD to utilize new technology while combating school threats

Local News

McAllen ISD will beef up security and district-wide safety through the use of an all new cloud-based software program.

For less than $2 per student each year, McAllen ISD will be the first school district in the State of Texas to utilize this new Haystax technology.

The new software, touting school safety, would create a single alert system and monitoring tool for district police to gather intel and respond accordingly to critical emergency situations.

Violent threats against K-12 schools has increased by 158 percent over the last year, according to the National School Safety and Security Services.

Texas ranks as the sixth highest in the nation.

It TMs why McAllen ISD is utilizing a new state of the art program to protect its approximately 28,000 employees and students.

“We can TMt look at them as a number and we can’t look at them as students. We have to look at them as somebody’s kids and I think that really hits home because with that philosophy, we realize we TMre dealing with kids and they are our future. So we want to ensure that they are safe in school and, they have a good learning environment,” said McAllen ISD Police Department Capt. Jose Silva.

McAllen ISD police officers have to go between several programs when responding to a potential threat, explained Captain Silva.

“We TMre having to go back and forth when emergency type situations are going on so when were able to access just one (system) we TMre able to just go in there (and) handle it more efficiently. Time is of the essence so were able to draw back the time that we have to manage people out there, putting people in certain areas, doing whatever we have to do at the campus, and get services provided for the population in that school,” said Capt. Silva.

The new Haystax program will allow the department to utilize its current digital campus blueprints, livestream cameras, GPS tracking system of its officers, and even follow social media trends that may tip off investigators to a potential threats.

The program also means the district can debunk rumors and inform the public about an ongoing incident in a more timely fashion.

“I would be for them doing as much as they can to protect the children, but I would not want the privacy of individuals to be hurt,” said Paul Shovak.

McAllen Independent School District police will receive training on the Haystax program in two weeks. The Haystax School Safety Center Program will likely be up and running by late May or June.

“Definitely will pay off eventually, and it will be good for the community,” said Martha Gonzalez.

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