A new startup has big plans to improve security in schools, by providing a one-stop register of all students evacuated in an emergency. Ruvna, at its stand at the TechDay NY startup festival on Thursday, highlighted school shooting statistics and asked the question of how local schools would respond.
Ruvna has been designed to stay as simple as possible. In the event of a situation where everyone needs to evacuate the premises, like a fire drill, teachers call up a class list on their smartphones and check off every student that is present outside. The school administration can see the list of every student that has not been confirmed as evacuated by a teacher, giving a bird’s-eye view of every child that is missing.
The service has been in use for around six months in two schools on the East coast. These schools have agreed with local law enforcement agencies and the school administration to share the data Ruvna collects. By following a teacher’s tally’s live in the app, law enforcement can use Ruvna to quickly pinpoint which students are missing and, based on timetabling information, show where the student is likely to be inside the building.
Guardians and school officials can also track, in real time, student “incidents” in Ruvna, meaning, for example, that a student’s parents will know right away when their child has been given detention.
Ruvna has competitors in the emergency response space, but claims it is the only one specifically designed for schools. “None of them address the big problem that schools have, which is when there’s an emergency, where are my kids?” Joey Nutinsky, the company’s CEO, tells Inverse.
One thing that’s striking about Ruvna’s display at TechDay, however, is its headline statistic, plastered on a big banner above the table. “Over 170 school shootings have occurred since 2013,” the banner says. “How would your school respond?”
The company says that it would not agree that it is capitalizing on fears around school shootings. “The fear does strike a reaction, but the fear is there for a reason, and that’s because it needs to be stopped,” says Jack Ruppel, Ruvna’s chief technology officer. “It’s a real problem that is actually concerning. It’s a legitimate fear. We’re not creating it, we’re trying to address it.”
“We’re absolutely not capitalizing on fear,” Nutinsky says. “We’re using statistics that should shock you and should make you think this is unacceptable, to realize that these emergencies happen and these schools don’t have the tools to protect them.”
Ruvna has big plans to expand its service beyond its initial launch. The service is priced between $4,000-6,000 annually per school, with bulk discounts available. The company will work with local authorities to integrate the service into existing timetable data systems.