Local high school launches Anonymous Alerts reporting service

Local High School launches Anonymous Alerts

COLUMBIA (WACH)-- Irmo High School is allowing students and other individuals to quickly and anonymously report urgent information to school officials.

Anonymous Alerts are used by schools and districts to help thwart incidents; the Anonymous Alerts app was downloaded on all Irmo High studentsâ?? district-issued iPad minis in April as a pilot program. Messages can be submitted anonymously to a school administrator or guidance department staff using a smartphone or a computer.

The implementation at the Lexington-Richland District Five schools comes amid a bill in the South Carolina statehouse that would require school district to develop an online system for anonymously reporting acts of bullying, harassment and other issues.

â??Within 24 hours it had some payoffs,â?? said Irmo High School Principal David Riegel. â??Our biggest thing is we want to eliminate threats in our school, and if an alert comes through that can help do that, it makes our school safer. Weâ??re piloting the app because we didnâ??t want to wait for solutions to be presented to us, we want to find solutions on our own. Itâ??s all about keeping our school safe.â??

Students can also upload or attach a photo directly from their smartphones, iPad and other devices to accompany the text. All reports remain anonymous, although senders have do have the option to include their names during the submission process for a person-to-person discussion.

Irmo High School says the app is timely and has been well-received by students.

â??You donâ??t want to be the person to tell,â?? said Kyle Outlaw, a junior at the school. â??With Anonymous Alerts, you donâ??t have to make a big deal about it. We know it works because within minutes of the first downloads, the alerts started rolling in. They were already using it.â??

Irmo High junior Bryanna Brown added, â??A lot of people feel like reporting something is snitching, so itâ??s wrong. But itâ??s not wrong if youâ??re helping somebody. I think students will use it and, at the same time, I think they will be less inclined to get in trouble because they donâ??t want to be told on.â??

Irmo High is one of the first schools in the state to pilot the anonymous reporting system.

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