KINGS PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Thousands of students across Long Island will return to school in September surrounded by enhanced safety measures, including an emergency communications app.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone signed legislation Monday at Kings Park High School to provide the RAVE Panic Button app to educators in kindergarten through 12th grade.

“I am very proud to sign this legislation,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “The most important issue in government is making sure we do everything we can to keep our kids safe.”

The mobile app comes equipped with a variety of features designed to dramatically enhance law enforcement and first responders’ ability to effectively react and respond to an active shooter situation or other emergencies.

The app will also communicate details to other school staff and school officers on the premises.

While parents and students are still enjoying their summer vacations, some are already expressing trepidation for the upcoming school year.

“When it happened in Florida, they told me to text them right away,” said a high school student at a sports camp told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.

“It’s something we’ve become almost desensitized to,” said a parent.

Since the Parkland shooting, parents educators and lawmakers on Long Island have banded together sharing safety goals.

Too many young people today are going home with anxiety — will our school be next?” said Suffolk County Legislator Dr. William Spencer.

The emergency communications app will be available to all 69 Suffolk County school districts — across 450 school buildings on Long Island — with a push to have everybody trained before school starts in September.

Suffolk legislators approved a $2 million bond for the system, claiming they saved taxpayers more than a million dollars.

“At the end of the day, it’s going to cost us nothing by bidding this out as a county initiative rather than school districts signing on individually,” said Superintendent Dr. Timothy Eagen of the Kings Park Central School District

A quick response is vital, but what about prevention?

“As the superintendents association and educators across Long Island and the state, we are focused on mental health. We are focused on identification,” Dr. Ken Bossert, President of the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association.

Identifying and helping troubled youth, boosting school resource officers, urging higher bail for gun offenders — all among increased initiatives.


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