This week several schools in Oakland, California started a new “text-a-tip” program. The program allows students and community members to alert campus police directly about potential and dangerous problems with cell phone text messages using specialized technology from Guest Assist. If your child is ever caught in an emergency situation, text messaging is the technology you want them to have immediate access to. The technology associated with mobile messaging offers benefits to students and educators that phone calls can’t:
- A way to instantly report critical and life threatening information anonymously
- Concerned friends and parents have a way to report issues about drinking, drugs or violence
- Harassment by bullies (including cyberbullies) can be reported without concerns of retaliation
Why don’t more schools offer this service? The cost runs about $2 per student on an annual basis. For a school with 3000 students, we are talking about $6,000 a year to offer mobile messaging support for our students. Kudos to Pete Sarna, the Chief of Police for Oakland Public Schools – serious forward thinking that will benefit everyone involved!