DATE: August 28, 2019
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
Online Anonymous Reporting System to Keep Schools Safe Now Operational Across 10 Middle & High Schools
(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – Along with the start of the new school year, Albemarle County Public Schools’ new online school safety reporting system is now operational in all middle and high schools across the division. This past May, the division introduced the new system, Anonymous Alerts, on a pilot basis at Western Albemarle High School. On average, the school received about one report per day between May 6 and the end of the school year on June 7.
Using an app on mobile devices or a link on the division’s home page and on the individual home pages for 10 middle and high schools, students, parents, staff, and community members can anonymously report concerns about threatening, abusive or unsafe behaviors at a school. Through the Anonymous Alerts website, someone making a report will be guided through a series of basic steps to file their report. The app can be downloaded free from the Apple App Store or Google Play.
Reports automatically are sent to the school principal for investigation and, in some instances, to a school counselor or the division’s school safety officer as well. The person making the report has the option to engage in an online conversation with an administrator while remaining anonymous or to make themselves available for an in-person meeting.
As part of Anonymous Alerts, a report can be filed in one of nine categories, such as bullying, possession of banned substances, sexual harassment or assault, vandalism, theft, suicidal behavior, or expressions and threats made against a person or property.
“Western Albemarle’s experience with the pilot program demonstrated that students were eager to share their concerns,” said Dr. Nicholas King, the division’s Director of Student Services. “They raised issues that had not previously been discussed with the school’s administrators, so that certainly was helpful,” he said.
“In fact,” Dr. King added, “every report we received had useful information. We were pleased with the system’s rollout. There was only one instance in which an improvement to the system’s operability had to be made. That concerned the ability to include a photo with a report.”
“Overall, the system met our highest expectations,” Dr. King said. “It strengthened our belief that an anonymous reporting system can add value to our team-based approach to school safety. We want everyone to be a contributor to maintaining a respectful, nurturing environment in our schools, both through their own behavior and in enabling us to make positive changes when necessary,” he added.
Anonymous Alerts was founded in 2013. It used by more than 5,000 K-12 schools with more than five million students across the country, as well as by corporations and higher education institutions throughout the U.S.