School Safety Grants and New Technology
Biometric identification, defined broadly as a technological method of identifying a person by a physical or behavioral trait, is becoming a more common method to keep students safe in school, and thanks to the REMS grant, more schools are able to afford these advanced safety systems. (Photo Credit).
Biometric ID used to be something you'd only see in spy films: usually, the hero would have to conquer futuristic eye scanners and voice recognition machines in order to save the day and win the girl. But as technology advances, these security measures have moved from the big screen into everyday life, and slowly but surely, they are becoming more affordable for school districts who are interested in the best new way to keep their students safe.
Thanks to a REMS grant award, one school district in Florida has already implemented this technology into their emergency preparedness plan. Polk County Public School District, located an hour west of Tampa, used some of their REMS grant money to install biometric scanning devices on its buses that have rural routes.
The idea: students will scan their fingers when getting on and off the bus. This will create a record of the students' locations, and the software can alert the bus driver if a student gets off at the wrong bus stop, or if the student is missing. Combined with the buses' GPS systems, which were also purchased with REMS grant funding, this information will allow the school district to better inform families of students' locations while students are in the school's custody.
The REMS grant program provides funding for schools to improve their emergency readiness and preparedness. It's not an equipment grant, and any school submitting wish-list only proposals will have a slim chance at victory. However, if equipment requests are built into the school district's overall emergency enhancement plan, such requests may be funded. UPDATE: There will be no REMS funding in 2011. For more information on REMS funding and alternative grant programs, read our latest REMS update here, published April 7th, 2011.
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