RFID credentials still have a significant foothold in the K-12 environment, but the reasoning is a little different at Pennsylvania’s Westmoreland Intermediate Unit (WIU) 7 Crossroads School. The school, which caters to grades 6-12, has issued RFID pendants to staff in the hopes of better protecting students and staff, as well as de-escalate campus altercations.
According to the school’s website, WIU provides education for students that are either persistently disruptive or would otherwise benefit from an alternate placement. For this reason, the potential for disorderly or violent behavior at the school is heightened making the need for quick intervention by educators and those trained in the de-escalation of disruptive and potentially dangerous situations.
Enter the Help Alert pendants. Manufactured by RF Technologies, Help Alert enables staff to discretely call for assistance in the case of conflict, medical emergency or other altercation with the push of a button. Teachers can use the pendant to call for help from on-campus personnel, but the system can also be configured to call local authorities if need be.
Once pressed, the RFID pendants discreetly report the location of the pendant and its holder to security monitors and mobile devices, updating the staff member’s location on the move.
The RFID pendants tap into the school’s existing Wi-Fi network and access points for location estimation, eliminating the need to install costly infrastructure. Wi-Fi based reference tags were also installed in areas where additional campus location information was needed.
“Alerts yield a greater staff presence in areas experiencing conflict, therefore students are deterred from inappropriate behavior,” says Nicholas Falcon, principal of WIU Crossroads School. “When we talk about logistically trying to communicate a need from a classroom, I would say we’ve cut that down to seconds where it used to be minutes.”