The City of Monroe has implemented an “App” that will spell trouble for the school district in the weeks to come, especially after the public finds out how easy it will be to file false reports against teachers and administrators in the Monroe City Schools.
The App called “P3Campus” is a free download for iPhone or Android phones that will allow anyone in the public, including students, teachers, and haters to anonymously post “tips” about suspected wrongdoing that will immediately be reported to the police and saved in its crime-stopping database.
According to Police Chief Eugene Ellis, it is a youth version of “crime stoppers,” and is intended to give youth a way to stop bullying by privately reporting bullying and other criminal acts to the police without fear that their names would be known.
Once a suspected crime is reported through the App it will be investigated by the police, but no action will be taken if it is uncorroborated. If the complaint is not warranted, no action will be taken, but the report itself will be in the city’s criminal activity database and will appear if a search is made for the name of the suspect.
The fear that students, teachers or even angry parents might misuse the App was the subject of a recent Insurance Committee meeting. In that meeting, chairman Rick Saulsberry said the App exposes the school district to considerable risk since the district would be providing a tool for malicious students, co-workers or the general public to slander or falsely accuse others without fear of identification.
Saulsberry wants the City Schools removed from the App. However, he met opposition from Superintendent Brent Vidrine and School Board President Bill Willson who both said the App would make it easier to stop bullying by making it easier for students to report.
Saulsberry says a student needs only to download the App, enter a fake password that is not permanent or associated with any name or phone, choose a Monroe City School, and then choose from over sixty different kinds of complaints that include: Alcohol use, anger issue, animal cruelty, teasing, dating violence, eating disorders, knife possession, sexting, inappropriate relationships, and others.
The App asked the student to describe the event and give the name of the student, teacher or principal involved along with a description of the person’s body build, race, hair color, facial hair, Twitter Handle, Instagram Username, Snapchat User Name, and Facebook User ID.
In addition, the App asks the student to provide information about any scars, marks, tattoos or ear piercings the student teacher may have along with a description of the clothing, address and any information about past crimes they may have committed.
Saulsberry says in the hands of a mischievous or angry student or faculty member, many innocent students and employees would be made vulnerable to malicious attacks. He says the school board would be complicit in the attacks since it authorized the tool for the anonymous attacks to be made.
The App is part of the city’s “SAVE” program designed to help fight crime in the city. The App was approved by the school board without a demonstration of how it works.
While many schools across the nation are included in the APP, there are no schools in Louisiana that use the App. In the Apple Store, it only has one review and no stars that indicate performance success.
We think the App is a dangerous tool because of its anonymity. In the hands of pranksters or even school bullies, it can cause serious trouble. Even worse, it will create a permanent public record in the police database that will always appear anytime police search a name.
Mr. Willson or Dr. Vidrine won’t see the danger in it until some student, parent or adult uses the App to falsely accuse them of child molestation, abuse or some other crime and then have that record appear as an accusation years from now.
Only when it hits home, will they understand.