See something sketchy on an LAUSD campus? There is an app for that – Daily News

See something sketchy on an LAUSD campus?  There is an app for that – Daily News

The Los Angeles Schools Anonymous Reporting App allows members of the LAUSD community to anonymously report a variety of safety issues (Courtesy of LAUSD)

Drug use, graffiti, concealed weapons, threatening messages—these are all safety issues that LAUSD students navigate on school campuses, but are often unsure of the best way to report them without facing potential retaliation or harassment.

Now there’s an app for that.

The newly launched Los Angeles Schools Anonymous Reporting (LASAR) mobile app allows anyone in the school community, including support staff, teachers, parents and students, to anonymously report suspicious activity in real time.

While 911 remains the best point of contact for emergencies, the LASAR app allows you to call for help for a wide range of hazards and concerns, from mental health incidents to property damage to crimes.

Users open the app, fill out a report, choose whether to attach images or videos, and decide whether to provide their contact information.

These reports are immediately sent to the watch commander, who investigates the incidents and provides an appropriate response, such as to Los Angeles school police, psychiatric social workers, or maintenance.

The hope is that the app will encourage more people to report incidents, while creating a central database and response system for schools to track and address security issues on campus.

“One of the most powerful benefits of this app is that it leverages the proactive efforts of school communities to confront suspicious behavior and violence without fear of retribution, simply by anonymous reporting for real-time response,” said Alfonzo. Webb, senior director of school operations, at a recent LAUSD board meeting.

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Board members enthusiastically embraced the app as a 21st-century solution to the realities of 21st-century dangers on campus, including increases in gun violence and overdoses.

“As drugs and fentanyl enter our schools, we need every creative solution we can to protect our students and keep drugs off our campuses,” LAUSD Board President Jackie Goldberg said in a written statement. “Launching an app that allows our school community to anonymously report any concerns or tips is part of a multi-pronged approach to keeping our students safe.”

Campus safety and the role of school police have been hotly debated in LAUSD in recent years.

In 2020, the school board voted to cut the school police budget by 35% in response to concerns that the police were criminalizing black students and impairing students’ ability to focus in school. Then in 2021, the board voted to end the practice of placing an officer on every middle school and high school campus and instead place the officers at off-campus locations.

While some advocates continue to call for more school police relief, some parents say schools have become more dangerous and want to see officers back on campus.

The LASAR app is one of several mobile platforms the district has implemented or is in the process of implementing to improve campus security, information dissemination and school service delivery.

The district recently released a second safety app called the Emergency Response App specifically for employees to report active assault incidents. This app is intended for use in situations that may be dangerous or challenging to call 911. Allows staff to send SMS details of an ongoing emergency.

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“I know we are all shocked by this horrific attack in our nation’s school communities,” Webb said at the March 7 meeting. “The devastating effects of school violence have a lasting impact and we must remain vigilant and prevent our children and staff from becoming victims at all costs.”

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