One Region 8 School Using Computers and Cell Phones As Safety Tools

Forrest City, AR (KAIT)  -- As teens become ever more addicted to their computers and cell phones, administrators in the Forrest City School District are taking notice. They believe teens can use those high-tech gadgets to keep their school safe.

"We get an email alert on our school email and we go in and see what messages have been sent.  At that point, we address the concerns and we can email them back," said Katie Jones, Forrest City Junior High Principal.

It's a program called "Talk About It". With a computer or cell phone, Forrest City Junior and Senior High students can access the program through their school email.

"Being proactive and having that prior knowledge of something that might occur, for example on a Monday morning at school, is always a measure to keep the school safe," said Jones.

Students can report any problems, at school or at home, anonymously. Only a few designated school administrators will receive the emails sent.  Another way students are getting involved with the program--they're the ones teaching the others how to use it.

"If we tell them, they'll be like, this is something cool.  It's actually a program for us," said 8th grader, Ti'Anna Keith.

"Many students won't go to the counselors and talk about problems because they don't want to have the reputation of being a tattletale or that little elementary name calling status," said Ebone Allen.

Ebone and Ti'Anna are just two of about 25 students in the middle school who will help teach "Talk About It", and detail what they call a comforting program.

"As for Principal Katie Jones, she hopes "Talk About It" will help ease any fears a student may have, and allow them to focus on class curriculum.

If school officials feel like the system is being abused, or they think there is a crisis situation present, officials can get the names from the program administrator.