Dothan city schools are trying to keep up with the latest technology available and one way is using an anonymous messaging system. Parents and students can send messages that go to school administrators.
While the new program has only been in use for a few weeks it's helping the school system out more than they anticipated.
"It’s going very, very well. When we first introduced the anonymous alerts a lot of students and parents that were very excited because they feel like there is an avenue where they can report possible bullying or anything that is inappropriate for the school setting,” said Northview High School Principal Chris Shaw.
The information being provided is very specific. The sender completes a list of questions and then leaves a comment about the situation.
School officials say they receive about two alerts a week.
"I think that most have something to the story but it wasn't as dramatic or traumatic as it may have seemed in the anonymous alert and others have been spot on 100% correct and we've stopped it,” said Superintendent Tim Wilder. “Others have been kind of leading us on a wild goose chase, so I would say about half had had some merit to it."
When the idea was first introduced the main focus was to help stop bullying, but as Wilder has learned it’s helping with a lot more.
"We found out that there was some theft of cell phones at one of our schools and we had an anonymous alert about not only who they were but where they were stashing these cell phones once they stole them,” said Wilder. “We put a camera there and caught three students that were doing it."
Wilder says this is a great way for students to not feel peer pressure by reporting something and he says the student feedback for the app has only been positive.
To download the app you search for anonymous alerts and type in DCS as the username and password. You can also go to the Dothan city schools website and send a message through there.