Stafford students should be able to text suspicions
Our Stafford County School Board has a unique opportunity to lead changes in the use of cellphone strategies to allow students to alert school officials in times of uncertainty. We should not restrict or constrain the quick alert capability cellphones provide today following a nationally recognized program: “If you see something. Say something.”
Presently, students at Stafford High School, the location of an incident recently [“Barefoot man boards school bus, gains access to Stafford High School,” Aug. 17] follow very exact and controlled guidelines on the use of their phones. I believe these constraints, which are restrictive, added to the confusion and notification to officials.
My proposal is to create an alert messaging board similar to the alert messaging parents receive now from Stafford officials, but only in reverse. This board, consisting of display monitors in the school’s front office and other key locations, would display student alert messaging.
Only registered phones would be able to text to a number that activates an alert tone—with a message. School officials would respond immediately either to the phone or through the school’s internal communication system, or the county’s 911 system if the incident warranted it. (Were any 911 calls received in this latest incident?)
This immediate response can save lives, especially in real-time school lockdown situations. The sheriff and deputies could also add input by creating Principals Critical Incident Reporting (PCIRs) measures.
Yes, I acknowledge that with close to 2,000 students, there’s going to be some tomfoolery, and Saturday school may be required for those who abuse the system.
But teaching young people the correct balance of utilizing their phones in our learning institutions and using them to alert authorities during emergencies is the end result.