Columbia SC (WLTX) - Irmo high school has a new tool for students to report bullying, harassment and other issues.
The app is called the anonymous alerts app. It allows students to submit message and picture anonymously to school administrators or a guidance counselor using a smartphone or computer.
Right now the app is installed each of the students iPads issued by the school.
"So far we really like it, we think the students have responded well to it. We've had several actionable items where we have been able to intervene. We think it helps make our school safer and more secure," said Irmo High School Principal David Riegel
The implementation at the Lexington-Richland District Five school comes after a bill in the South Carolina statehouse that would require school districts to develop an online system for anonymously reporting acts of bullying, harassment and other issues. Irmo High is one of the first schools in the state to pilot the online anonymous reporting system.
Irmo High Guidance Counselor Cherise Jacobs added, "There are a number of things that can be reported through Anonymous Alerts… and as a guidance counselor, I like that you have the option to identify yourself if you want to interact with administration. Just in the second day, we were able to help a student in trouble. So if we can just help one student, we know it has been successful."
Students with the school's Conflict Resolution Group helped their peers download the app and used t-shirts promoting the app to market the new tool. The group's members say the app has helped remove the stigma and hesitation many students feel about going to adults with problems.
"You don't want to be the person to tell," said Kyle Outlaw, a junior at the school. "With Anonymous Alerts, you don'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."
Irmo High junior Bryanna Brown added, "A lot of people feel like reporting something is snitching, so it's wrong. But it's not wrong if you'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 don't want to be told on."
Irmo High is one of the first schools in the state to pilot the online anonymous reporting system.