New app letting Los Angeles students and their parents report everything from vandalism to vaping

While public schools in this country are suffering from declining test scores, and in some cases truancy levels that have yet to bounce back from beyond the COVID shutdowns, the Los Angeles Unified School District is hoping apps can improve the lives of its students and their families. 

The district, ranked #493 of all 1,165 school districts in California, according to Public School Review, just announced students and their parents will be able to open an app to alert administrators about everything from vaping and vandalism to sextortion and bullying, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Los Angeles Schools Anonymous Reporting is a new part of a suite of four apps. It was designed “to increase community focused public safety in and around our schools.”

The other apps that were revealed allow parents to access grades and look up other information more easily than calling the school office; one was reserved for actual emergencies.

The LASAR app was emphasized at a recent unveiling, according to the Los Angeles Times. “The ability for the community, for students and the workforce for example, to automatically real-time relay, in an anonymous way or not, potential threats to a student, to a school, is critically important,” said LA schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.

When a report from the app is received, the school’s police watch commander “will triage the reported incident and determine the necessary resource to dispatch,” according to the staff report quoted by the Times.

A separate app, Los Angeles Unified Emergency Alert, could be utilized by staff in an actual emergency, such as a school shooter. Unlike a 911 call, this app would allow people to enter relevant information. A watch commander is immediately alerted when time is of the essence.