Lowndes Co. Schools launches new anonymous alert system
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Parents all across Georgia and America are worried about their child’s safety at school.
Lowndes County Schools is launching a new tool to help them get urgent information to school officials across all campuses. That announcement comes just days after a school shooting hoax at Valdosta High School.
After the Uvalde school shooting, a lot of Texas schools took on an anonymous alert system to help ensure the safety of students and staff. Now, Lowndes County Schools is taking on the same thing.
“I am very grateful to have anonymous alerts as another resource to help keep children in our school’s system safe. Very grateful to have that. I think it’s going to offer us the opportunity to be able to quickly and easily respond when we have issues and concerns that come up,” Octavia Faulk, a parent of a Lowndes County student, said.
It’s unclear how effective anonymous alerts are for major emergencies. There’s not much data, and they’re fairly new.
A parent who commented on WALB News 10′s Facebook page said they just want communication.
“Interesting. Would be nice for the parents of all the students who attend the school to be notified about this. We have not been notified about this yet,” Whitney Browning, a parent, said.
“Certainly, the more communication tools we put in the hands of students, the better. The safer (they will) feel and the safer the parents will feel putting them into our care. And the more expeditiously we can receive information, and the faster we get information, the faster we can act,” Sandra Wilcher, assistant superintendent of Lowndes County Schools, said.
Lowndes County Schools leaders said if an anonymous threat is made through the app, the sender will be tracked down and disciplined to the fullest extent of the law.
“What we will allow them to do is use anonymous alerts, go on and report anything that falls into certain categories. From threats to the school, weapons on campus, drugs on campus, anything that’s a negative issue that they feel like would negatively impact the school day,” Wilcher, said.
Some parents on social media said they see this making pranks worse. But some parents said they’re happy to know their children attend a school system that is trying.
“Very fortunate that my child is a part of a school system that takes safety as a priority. As a parent and having a student in the system, I feel very appreciative that the school system is giving us another tool to ensure the safety of our children. And it gets information to us even quicker,” Nicole Goldman, a parent to a Lowndes County student, said.
School officials said sometimes students aren’t comfortable sharing openly what they know, so they’re hoping this will help.
“This communication, as we indicated, is encrypted. But as with any communication source, if somebody was to misuse it or make threats towards the school system that are not vetted or not accurate, we would engage law enforcement to make sure that those people are held accountable,” Wilcher said.
Lowndes County Schools is encouraging students, parents and community members to download the anonymous alerts app to help keep the school system safe.
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