Say Something App Introduced during Academy

Nicole Kennedy, Opinion Editor

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The Acalanes Union High School District, following the lead of other districts nationwide, is implementing the Sandy Hook Promise “Say Something” program.

Using the name of the elementary school that experienced a mass shooting in 2012, resulting in the death of 20 1st graders, the program’s goal is to offer students a way to anonymously report issues of concern.

Say Something is an app that students can add to their smart phones. Students learned about the Sandy Hook Promise program, including how to use the app, in academy on September 25.

“The app will be good because it’s anonymous and I think its a good way for the school to quickly get information,” said junior Emma Dillard.

AP U.S. history teacher Liza Herzig believes that the app helps “those suffering in silence” more than with gun violence. Herzig has seen instances in her career of students who needed help, and with the reports of their friends to school counselors and the administration, were able to get the support they needed.

We get this conspiracy of silence in the community of people who are really going through some trauma, so I think this can be a way to break that silence,” said Herzig.

As a teacher and mother of a high school student, the idea of gun violence in schools hits close to home for Herzig, who began teaching the year of the Columbine Massacre.  She “can’t fathom” that today kids and teachers are not necessarily safe at school and at work.

However, while Dillard thinks the app is a great idea so “long as students don’t abuse it and report meaningless things,” it gives many high schoolers the opportunity to raise false alarms and draw attention away from legitimate reports.

Statistics provided by the Sandy Hook program during a presentation to staff by Principal John Walker indicate that, with the initial introduction of the app, most schools see a spike in reports, but the majority turn out to be authentic claims. With this, Herzig is fairly confident the app will not be misused by students.

According to Walker the app is “sophisticated,” as the app easily sends information to the administration and counseling and, if need be, emergency services. “I think it’s easy to use. I like that the students have 1 more tool to help keep themselves and their peers safe,” said Walker.

In addition to introducing the Sandy Hook Promise program, students watched an emotional video about the shooting at Sandy Hook and about the foundation founded in the aftermath in an effort to prevent such violence.

According to junior Molly Mitchell, the video was “really hard to watch” and it’s “even harder to imagine ever happening at Campo.” She hopes this app will prevent such atrocities.

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