Students often have a hard time letting an adult or school official know when they are being bullied or harassed online, but a new app available in Putnam Valley and some Westchester county schools offers an anonymous solution.
The app, White Plains-based Anonymous Alerts, allows for the quick, easy, and anonymous reporting of urgent information regarding student safety to school officials without fear of retaliation.
Available for download for free from the Apple or Google Play app stores, the app encourages students, parents, and staff to confidentially and anonymously report student safety concerns such as bullying, cyberbullying, drug or alcohol use, fights, and more.
All incident reports remain anonymous unless the submitter selects the option to reveal their identity.
"As an added component of our commitment to student safety, we are announcing our launch of Anonymous Alerts, which empowers our students, parents, and staff, to effectively report urgent information to school officials across all of our school campuses. When the submitter provides an email or cell number, which is immediately encrypted by Anonymous Alerts, we are able to begin a confidential and anonymous dialogue," said Dr. Frances Wills, Putnam Valley Superintendent of Schools.
Anyone wishing to submit information anonymously can go to the Putnam Valley School District's website and click on the Anonymous Alerts button, using any Internet-enabled device or computer. The Anonymous Alerts system is monitored between the hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday on regular school days.
"Our students are encouraged to continue to go to a trusted adult, but I understand that at times an anonymous report may be preferred. Our top priority is the safety of our students, and we believe that Anonymous Alerts will increase the reporting of anything that threatens that safety," Wills added.
Additional topics for submission may include family issues, student depression, sexual harassment, or unusual student behavior.
"We're excited to partner with Putnam Valley Central School District in helping their students, parents and staff submit reports anonymously to school officials," said Gregory Bender, president & CEO of Anonymous Alerts, LLC. "64 percent of students who are bullied do not report it, and we want to change that. With as many as 98 percent of students using cell phones, we believe that our Anonymous Alerts app will be effective in the fight against bullying and other sensitive student issues that would otherwise go unreported."