App helps combat bullying and other negative activity

Students in Round Rock can now report bullying, threats, and other negative activity from the palm of their hand. The district recently launched a new system called "Anonymous Alerts".

Seventh grader Josh Gole is busy helping promote the initiative Round Rock ISD is launching. He says he knows firsthand what it's like to experience bullying.

"Because of my height. I'm really small. It's never fun to get bullied. In kindergarten and first grade people weren't really kind," Josh says.

But now Josh is older, wiser and stands tall and proud. "Now when people bully me, I'm like, "okay. bye." Brush it off."

Josh is in the school PSA video promoting "Anonymous Alerts".

"I thought it was so cool that Walsh was able to include such a cool program and not just be one of those average schools but go above and beyond," Josh says.

The program is at all Round Rock middle and high school campuses.

Adrienne Garcia, Assistant Principal at Walsh Middle School in Round Rock says since "Anonymous Alerts" launched last week the response has been overwhelming.

"Students are able to let us know anything going on that they want us to address," Garcia says.

"People are watching. This school is safe and our students keep it safe as well as our staff," Garcia adds.

Here's how it works. Students can download the free app to their iPhone or Android. There's also a website students can go to if they don't have a smart phone.

Once at "Anonymous Alerts" students can give reports of any type of incident.

Though it is anonymous, it does help if students tell where the incident happened and when.

Once they hit submit it immediately goes to school administrators via text message or email.

Administrators then investigate.

"If we have the kids name we can talk to them. If we have a teachers name or a hallway we can look on the cameras. If it's a bus incident we can further research that," Garcia says.

While reporting incidents to school officials isn't new, doing it this way is.

Also, administrators believe by being anonymous, students are more inclined to tell.

More importantly, it empowers students do to the right thing and that's a valuable life lesson.

"I think it's really cool to have that option," Josh says.

Now it's important to note, "Anonymous Alerts" is not a 24-hour crisis hotline and will only be monitored during school days and hours.

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