Kentucky Seventh Grader Advocates for School Safety During Amazing Shake Contest

Seventh Grader Kynedee Mauney presented on the topic of school safety to Kentucky elected officials this year. Photo courtesy of Kerri Stanfield.
Kynedee Mauney is a seventh grader at Mason County Middle School (MCMS) in Mason County, Kentucky. This was her second year participating in the Amazing Shake contest where she made it into the top six with her presentation about school safety. The Amazing Shake is a public speaking/life skills project that originated at The Ron Clark Academy (RCA) in Atlanta, GA. This is the fifth year MCMS has held the competition. About five years ago, MCMS English Teacher Kerri Stanfield went to an educator training at RCA where she first learned about the project. “I was so impressed with the ability of the students to hold a conversation, shake hands, and speak in public that I knew I would bring it back to MCMS and complete our own version,” said Stanfield. During the Amazing Shake competition, students go through a variety of rounds that test their ability to think on their feet, their manners, and their life skills. The stand out round of the 2018 contest was the political speech round – where ten students, including Kynedee, were given 36 hours to identify a problem in Kentucky and offer a reasonable solution presented in front of two elected officials; Representative John Sims and Governor Matt Bevin. The Lt. Governor and the Governor’s Cabinet were also in attendance. Kynedee chose the issue of school safety. “We were assigned to define a particular issue that’s both city and statewide and find a solution to the problem,” said Kynedee. “There are multiple solutions available for school safety, but [schools] are not sure what solution to use.” It was up to Kynedee to find the best solution. Superintendent Rick Ross and Assistant Superintendent Justin Moore shared SchoolGuard and affiliated products with Kynedee as a potential solution. After further research of SchoolGuard and Hero911 Network, Kynedee found the geolocation technology in the app the most interesting due to its ability to alert law enforcement within a 5-15 mile radius, both on and off duty, in seconds if there is an emergency at a nearby school. “Having an app like this would make me feel safer at school,” said Kynedee. “Every teacher has a smartphone and can press the button in the app at any time and instantly send the alert and know help is coming.” Though Kynedee hasn’t heard feedback quite yet from the elected officials, a county police officer visited her after reading about her speech in The Ledger Independent, a local publication, and wanted to offer his support and assistance implementing the SchoolGuard app throughout Mason County. “As a teacher, I believe a plan such as SchoolGuard would be very beneficial in emergency situations,” said Stanfield. “I think it would cut down on wasted communication time, and give more accurate information to law enforcement as to the situation at hand. Training, preparation, and tools are the keys to our student’s safety in an emergency situation.” To learn more about SchoolGuard and how to get your school on the map visit:
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