The conversation always goes the same way. “Oh cool! Tell me about your startup!” says the attractive girl at the bar, hoping she’s talking with the next Mark Zuckerberg. I respond with the line I say about twenty times a day, “we allow schools to locate and account for their students in real-time during emergencies”, and with that, the excitement from her eyes is gone.
School safety isn’t sexy. In a world of startups being “the Tinder for X” and “the Uber for Y”, people aren’t necessarily interested in talking about the problems that Ruvna is addressing. And while that’s understandable, it needs to change.Here is the simple truth: there have been over 170 school shootings since 2013. These emergencies happen, and they’re devastating.
For a quick moment, let’s pretend we’re running a school during an emergency. We initiate a lockdown and call the police. In the classrooms, teachers have locked their doors, turned off the lights, and instructed the students to pile up in a corner. From there, all we can do is wait.
But what about students that weren’t in their class when the lockdown began? Schools are busy places; students are constantly on the move. Well, protocol would have those students enter the nearest classroom they see. Except, what about the actual teachers of those students? In their minds, one of their students is missing! Sure, they might be with another teacher, but they just as well might be still in the bathroom, hiding in a closet, or any number of places!
And what about the school? How do they know about these potentially missing students? They don’t. They can’t communicate with the teachers – not for lack of desire but for lack of ability.
And THIS is why we need to make schools safer. This is what we’re doing at Ruvna.
Here’s how it works: when an emergency happens, we show teachers a digital version of their attendance list. All the teachers have to do is check off all the students they have, that’s it. If they picked up additional students, they check them off with a simple search.
Ruvna figures out which students are with different staff members, and which ones are actually missing. For all of those missing students, we display their information immediately to administrators and law enforcement so that the school can focus on finding them as quickly as possible.
We don’t use GPS, we don’t require students to do anything, and we don’t force teachers to download any clunky apps. We just need teachers to take roll. With that simple action, Ruvna gives schools an amazing wealth of information they absolutely need during an emergency.
This is Ruvna. We’re not solving a sexy problem, but we’re solving an incredibly important problem. (Of course, we do a bit more to help schools, but we have future posts to talk about that.)