Bullying is a major problem in our schools. Thanks to the Internet, kids find themselves targeted even when they aren’t in school. So, Norwalk Public Schools introduced a new app that can help fight against bullies.
Darien Daily Voice reports that school officials introduced a new app that allows students and parents to anonymously report bullies. That way, it allows them to confidently report an issue without retaliation.
On top of that, the app also alerts school administrators about drug use, safety concerns, or abuse at home.
Anyone in the middle and high schools can access the app, named Anonymous Alerts.
NPS School Preparedness Coordinator Joe Rios says the app is a major win for bullying victims:
“School safety is a priority across the district. This new app will empower our students to come forward without fear of retribution by their peers. By receiving incident reports from students, we can apply resources quickly to avert potential safety issues.”
The app will also allow a faster response should a student come across a threatening situation. For example, with the rise of anti-Semitic and bomb threats appearing on bathroom walls, it allows students to immediately report it.
It also allows school officials to immediately contact police, too.
Personally, I find this app amazing. It allows a student to quietly report something without drawing attention to themselves. It reduces their stress because they know the app protects their identity. That way, it reduces the chance of retaliation.
We all know how brutal kids can be. Paired with the Internet, kids might feel unable to escape their bullies. So, this tool allows them to fight back.
This app also empowers witnesses of bullying. So, even if a student feels to afraid to speak up, maybe one of their peers will alert the proper authorities for them.
Sure, some say this app functions as a form of self-policing, which isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it may help decrease instances of bullying because kids now know anyone can report them.
On top of that, the app extends beyond simple bullying.
A few weeks ago, I reported on a local teenager who saved a suicidal friend’s life. There’s no question about whether or not she would have taken advantage of this app. She would have reported it on the app knowing full well an administrator would read it first thing in the morning.
Kids these days deal with more responsibilities and expectations than we did 10 years ago. With homework loads creeping upwards of 5+ hours a night, kids feel way more stressed than we ever did. According to Time Magazine, teenage depression is on the rise.
So, it’s not too farfetched to say this app might save someone’s life in the future. School officials encourage students to report depression, threats of suicide, and family issues on the app.
By doing so, it also allows administrators to put a time stamp on all incidents, which simplifies the documentation process.
Despite how I feel about the app, it’s up to the students and parents to determine its success. It might become an invaluable tool, or it’ll go unused.
But, it leaves the door open to those who need someone to turn to, and that’s invaluable.
The app will only be active during school hours. Students will receive a response from school officials between 7am and 5pm. Any reports sent after that will have to wait until the following day.
Anonymous Reports is already available on Apple App Store, Google Play Store and the Google Chrome Store. Parents may also report any incidents on the school website HERE.
What do you think about this app? Do you think it’ll backfire or become a huge success? Should more schools use this app?