Mad River Local Schools eyes new social media scanning technology

Local News

RIVERSIDE, Ohio (WDTN) – It’s well known that the high school shooter in Florida made threatening comments on Facebook before the shooting.

Now, local districts here in the Miami Valley are looking into a technology that can tip them off to such behavior.

Superintendent Chad Wyen says that starting next school year, the district will start getting notifications when potentially threatening posts are made on social media near the school.

Mad River Local Schools already has secure entry way, cameras and response teams.

“As we looked at the layers of security that we have in each of our buildings. We knew we needed something else aside from that. One thing we have really focused on is just the social media piece,” said Wyen.

Wyen plans on adding Social Sentinel. A program that will scan 13 social media platforms for potential threats to his school.

“Our students are really good about reporting anything out of the ordinary on social media. They do a great job. However they don’t catch everything,” said Wyen.

How does Social Sentinel work?

“There are certain terms that are hot terms. If those terms comes up and there is enough in a sequence. They geo code it down in order identify where that post originated,” said Wyen.

The scans, results and alerts can take as little as 5 minutes.

Wyen says the technology will be set up next school year.

“Once the system is set up and we have that in place. The notifications will go directly to me and 2 other members of my staff,” said Wyen.

Social Sentinel costs about $1 per student. A price that district leaders are willing to pay.

“The goal is to have it in place for three years. Reassess. Make sure the tool makes an impact and if it is, we will continue that service,” said Wyen.

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