ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- All middle and high schools in the Albemarle County Public Schools division can access an anonymous online reporting system.
The system, called Anonymous Alerts, can be used on mobile devices or from a link on the division's website, as well as the home pages for each of the ten middle and high schools.
Students, parents, staff, and community members can use this system to anonymously report concerns about threatening, abusive or unsafe behaviors at a school.
According to a release, the schools division received an average of one report per day between May 6 and the end of the school year on June 7 during a pilot of the program at Western Albemarle High School.
“Western Albemarle's experience with the pilot program demonstrated that students were eager to share their concerns,” said Dr. Nicholas King, the director of Student Services for ACPS. “They raised issues that had not previously been discussed with the school's administrators, so that certainly was helpful.”
Anyone who makes a report will be guided through a series of steps to file it, and such reports are automatically sent to the school principal for investigation. Some reports may also be sent to a school counselor or the division's school safety officer.
The person making the report may choose to engage in an online conversation anonymously with an administrator or make themselves available for a meeting face to face.
Reports can be filed in several potential categories, including bullying, possession of banned substances, sexual harassment or assault, vandalism, theft, suicidal behavior, or threats made against a person or property.
“In fact, 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,” said King. “Overall, the system met our high expectations. 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.”
The Anonymous Alerts system is used by more than 5,000 K-12 schools, corporations and higher education institutions across the country.
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