Longview Independent School District hosted 30 school districts on Wednesday to discuss a new program they will be implementing this Fall to improve safety in their school system.
The program will consist of a database that details every incident a student has both inside and outside of schools. The district, which will be the first to use the program in the country, believes it will set a new standard for security across the country.
A key part of this new system is the ability for community members to report concerns anonymously through a public web portal.
"Some kids don't want to be looked at as snitches," said Pave Systems President and CEO Ghassan Nino. "That's why you need to provide communication tools and a public portal where they can report anonymously. That gives you the ability to report and then the school can track and really understand what is going on and can bring it to health counselors. Many of these kids, they're not criminals. They need help. Mental health is a major problem today, so we need to understand it."
Longview ISD says that by allowing community members to alert the school district when they see warning signs, tragedies can be prevented.
"You look at some of the instances that occurred like Sandy Hook and you trace that backwards," said Longview ISD Assistant Superintendent Jody Clements. "Then you say, ‘What could we do now, if we knew what we do now. What could we have done in this situation.' Our goal is not to discipline kids or kick them out and ruin their future. Our goal is to identify problems they're having and to help them get over and through those problems to help them be successful. We feel that this is what this system is going to allow us to do."
Parents said that any idea that improves school safety is a good one.
"Anything proactive is good," said Shana Wood. "I mean you're talking about our kids. Anything you can do to protect them more is better. I prefer the security up front because the mental health slides through the cracks all the time, but I think it's great they want to try something."
"Life is changing every day," said Laura Reitan. "The culture and the way people act and interact change. We need to always evolve and to think outside of the box."
The school district says all information kept in the database and submitted through the public portal will remain private to only school administrators.
The new software will be in place beginning in the upcoming school year.
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