Monroe-Woodbury offers Anonymous Alerts service for students to report issues


The Anonymous Alerts website will allow students to report situations to administration

Lamisa Tasneem, Staff Writer

Anonymous Alerts is a system available to students who wish to report instances of bullying, drug usage, abuse, depression, or any other issue, and it is available online and as an app, set up almost a year ago.

Assistant Principal Mr. Yarmus, who reads many of the reports, said that Anonymous Alerts is active. Out of all the reports, 21 percent of them were related to drug or alcohol use, 14 percent involved bullying and harassment, and 9 percent involved hate speech. Other subjects of the reports included suicidal thoughts, self-harm, threats, and physical abuse. These statistics may include fake reports; however, Mr. Yarmus and the other administrators are generally able to tell real reports apart from fake ones based on their seriousness.

When someone uses Anonymous Alerts to file a report, they are able to keep their identity anonymous. They also have the option of opening up an anonymous online conversation with an administrator.

The way the reports are handled depends on the severity of the issue being reported, and Mr. Yarmus and other administrators and counselors have met with students who have been reported on. In almost all cases, the school has contacted a third party, such as the parents of the student or police. Usually, the school handles matters dealing with issues that happen on school grounds, such as bullying, directly.

There have been many seriously concerning reports, including ones about students having depression or considering suicide.

“I mean, what’s more serious than a student considering taking their own life?” said Mr. Yarmus. “We have a good connection with the mental health communities, so we have resources to get a kid to the hospital, to get a kid evaluated, so that’s happened a few times.”

Other serious issues have included harassment, much of which occurs on social media.

“We’ve dealt with a couple of very serious harassment issues… mostly on social media,” said Mr. Yarmus. “We would not have known about it because Instagram and Snapchat are mostly invisible to us.”

Mr. Yarmus said he believes that Anonymous Alerts has been successful.

“I mean, what’s the standard?” said Mr. Yarmus. “If you help one kid get the help he needs to stop drinking, stop smoking, stop being harassed, stop harassing, or, you know, God forbid, stop hurting themselves or make a horrible decision, it is worth it.”

Students seem to generally support the Anonymous Alerts system. 

“In certain aspects, it could be useful. The general idea of it is, I feel, very helpful, but I actually haven’t heard about it since you just mentioned it to me and for a long time I forgot it existed,” said Sabrina Kaplan.

“I think it’s pretty useful… because these are banned substances [drugs and vapes] in school, so there shouldn’t be any fear of the person reporting them that it’s going to come back to them. So it’s good that it’s anonymous,” said Sohan Saha.

“I think it can be useful. I think it’s a good idea to have that sort of thing,” said Christopher Noonan. “I guess it kind of depends on how it’s set up.”