Saturday, February 23, 2008

Schools to start using text messaging to notify parents in emergencies

This from Toni Konz at the Courier-Journal:

Two Jefferson County high schools have begun using instant messaging to provide quick and accurate information to parents during a crisis.

Officials hope it can dispel misinformation during tense situations such as Wednesday's four-hour lockdown at Fern Creek Traditional High School, when a flurry of text messages between frightened students and parents spurred rumors that caused some panic.

Louisville Male High School has already implemented the Dynamic Emergency Alert Network, called DEAN, and duPont Manual High School will start using it next week.

The network, developed by two Jefferson County Public School graduates, lets parents register their cell phone number and e-mail address so they can receive important messages from the school within seconds. The schools pay about $1,000 annually to subscribe to the system.

The only cost to parents is the charge from their cell-phone provider for receiving a text message, said Jenny Edelen, an assistant principal at Male. She noted that for those families who don't have unlimited text messaging the cost can range from 2 cents to 15 cents a message...


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