Vanden Launches New Web App; Students Have Concerns

Danali Hardwick, News Reporter '23

Students are now given a chance to anonymously report troubling incidents on a new online web app, but will they take this “proactive” step? While isn’t an emergency service, like 9-1-1, it is according to the Travis Unified School District website, a “frictionless reporting platform”. The simplicity of the system is for students and even parents to report all types of concerns, but many students are confused.   

The app is posed as an outlet for Vanden students to report things like bullying, harassment, or even abuse scenarios. “I’ve never heard of it before,” a student, Julian Orozco states. You simply sign in using your school’s access code (vandenvikings) and you get the option to write up a report. “Are you sure it’s anonymous?” he asks forcefully. The question opens the idea of whether the web app is confidentially secure or not.  

Attested by the TravisUSD website, is “truly anonymous.” The district website reiterates that the new app allows all information to remain undisclosed. In broader and more serious terms, the police do have the authority to track the IP address from whatever device was used. This feature is the only exception to the concealing of information and does have the possibility of helping someone, or maybe even hurting them.  

“Don’t you think if the situation was serious enough to track the IP address, [students] would just call the police?” Orozco curiously asks. As he does make a valid point, reporting something serious broadly may not be the only issue. Some students might even take advantage of hiding behind a screen to report things. That’s something Orozco also thought about.  

Assistant Principal, Nancy Vielhauer, elaborates on the functions of the app. “So, the app works so that students can have it on their phone, or their device, and they can anonymously report incidents,” She clarifies, “And then when they do that, you’ll get a message… And then the app automatically emails the administration at school,”   

Orozco did well in advancing and deepening ideas about the web app. “It’s a good thing for shy kids,” he asserts. Many students can take advantage of this opportunity to report things in a whole world of problems. “But some students might get reported when they don’t actually do anything,” Orozco adds.  

“We’re concerned about students making false claims and we want to know what’s going on in this school,” Vielhauer explains. She unravels how the administration is putting in the effort to make the school better. Only the three assistant principals and the principal will be able to access the information, adding to the secluded concept of the app. “It’s very easy for students to use; I think that’s a great thing,” Vielhauer concludes.