New anonymous reporting system helps keep Edgerton students safe

Anonymous tips sent to school officials
New anonymous reporting system helps keep Edgerton students safe

The Edgerton School District’s new anonymous alert system just started at the beginning of the year, and officials are hoping it opens a new way to communicate with students, parents and the community.

The school district already partners with the Janesville Area Crime Stoppers to encourage students to use the mobile app P3 Tips to report suspicious activity and crimes directly to police. Edgerton’s new alert system is different because tips are sent to school officials.

“It’s another avenue for kids to be able to report things that are going on, and hopefully another avenue to keep our building and our community safe,” Mark Coombs, Edgerton High School principal said.

Anyone can use the district’s reporting system to give officials information about bullying, drug and alcohol use or other safety concerns.

“Our hope is that we can access information or check in on things that are reported very quickly,” Lori Van Himbergen, director of pupil services for the district, said.

She said the district had received about a dozen tips since the system launched at the beginning of January.

“The fact that it’s been utilized pretty much immediately after rolling out is a good sign,” Van Himbergen said. “People are aware of it. It’s useful. It’s working the way we want it to work.”

The new alert system isn’t meant to take away from other ways to report concerns, the district just wanted to offer another option.

“Some people like to report things electronically through this. Some people might want to come talk to the principal. Some people might want to come talk to a teacher. Some people might want to write a note,” Coombs said. “So I think it’s just another way for kids to keep us informed.”

Officials said they welcome tips from concerns in-school, as well as situations that happen outside the classroom.

“Something may happen out in the community not during the school day, and they can report on that and not have to wait until the next day to report it,” Coombs said.

If the district receives a tip that requires action from law enforcement, officials will pass that information along, but the system is not intended for emergencies. If someone needs immediate help, they should call 911.

“Certainly there’s a difference between what gets reported and what we can handle at school versus what is appropriate for law enforcement,” Van Himbergen said.

The tips will always remain anonymous unless the tipster puts his or her name on the submission form.

“If they do put their name on there, we can still keep it anonymous, making sure that we’re protecting them so that we’re able to get the information that we need,” Coombs said.

The anonymous alert system can be accessed on the district’s website or through the district’s app.