New School Safety App

Andrew Botolino, Staff Writer

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Embracing the rapid technologization of the modern world, BHS implemented one-to-one chromebooks in February, and soon after, added the “Say Something” app into their arsenal against potential safety concerns. Two seminars were given on it to students, and its impact is already being made.

As of (I’m gonna see if I can get the most updated # of reports by the time we send, but as of last week) there have been 58 reports,” said Housemaster Hope Taylor.

The app itself is a brainchild of Sandy Hook Promise, defined on its website as “a national non-profit organization founded and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.” Seaking to provide an efficient, easy and confidential means to “help prevent violence, suicide, self-harm and other forms of threatening behavior,” “Say Something” was created.

In Taylor’s words, “it’s a way to get people help.”

To use the app, one needs to download it and type in a personal password. From there, the student would select BHS as their respective school, and when faced with a situation or scenario, choose from a list of possible problems or write one in. After that, there are a list of questions to respond to, and once done, the incident report is anonymously filed and sent to a crisis center. The center determines whether to contact the person who reported the concern, the school, or local law enforcement. As each case progresses, the respective reporter can see those updates in real time.

Some skepticism arose out of the new technology, however. Sophomore Ben Brunco has concerns that “kids aren’t going to take [the app] seriously.” He worried that, because the app was so convenient in its use, “kids will use it as a joke or just to get a kid they don’t like in trouble.”

Yet Taylor noted that “for the most part they’ve all been pretty legit.” Some even “attached a video or a post on Instagram” that caused them to be concerned.

The app presents differences in not only in how students report dilemmas but how the administration handles it. “It’s going to change my job a little bit,” Taylor remarked. “I like it, but I don’t want kids to rely on that and not have face-to-face conversations, because I think you get a better sense of what’s happening that way.” But if students aren’t comfortable telling an adult in person, the app is another option.

“A lot of times kids think, ‘I don’t want to be a snitch,’” she remarked, and things go unreported. “This makes it easier.”