FortifyFL App Helps Report Suspicious Activity

New FortifyFL App Helps Students Report Suspicious Activity to Schools
Posted on 10/30/2019
FortifyFl App

By Esra Cattelane and Shailee Patel, Bak Middle School of the Arts Students


FortifyFL, an app, is a new feature that was introduced at the beginning of this school year. The main purpose of this app is to provide a way for everyone including students, parents, community members, and school personnel to report threats or rumors that they have heard or seen.

   

Rumors are a constant issue at schools all over the world. People text them, post them, whisper them, and basically share them in any way possible.  With the assistance of social media, they are spread faster than ever and are seen by hundreds, sometimes thousands of people.

   

“Students don’t realize that what they post on social media can be seen by everyone around the world,” Timothy Regula, assistant principal, said.

  

Students may think rumors do not cause harm, but the line between “just a joke” and “a serious threat” can be blurred. On September 19, students were faced with a real example of this. Recently, a threat was posted on Snapchat that was directed toward Bak and Roosevelt Middle Schools. While most students did the right thing and reported it on the app, there were a number of students who reposted it, which illustrates a growing problem.

   

“I ask all people to report threats or concerns and stop spreading, posting, or reposting them,” Ms. Rozanski said. “By reposting threats, or sharing them with others, it does inform people that could address the concern and it also causes fear and worry. 

   

Indeed,  students who saw the post were worried about going to school the next day. But the police were able to step in after seeing all the reports they received through FortifyFL, and students went to school without any issues. 

   

FortifyFL itself cannot prevent rumors from spreading. This is something that only people can do.


“Students have the power to stop rumors at school,” Ms. Rozanski said.


Rather than reposting or sharing with friends and peers, students should immediately report concerns to school administration during the school day or report to FortifyFL if it is after school hours. 

   

As Frank Kitzerow, Chief of Police for the School District of Palm Beach County puts it, “...if you came home to find your house on fire, would you run door to door to your neighbors to tell them that your house is on fire? No, you would call 911 so the trained first responders could take action. The same holds true for school security.”

   

A threat can be reported by simply downloading the FortifyFL app on the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store and tapping “Report a tip.”  You can also report it by going on the website and submitting a tip with or without a picture. Once a threat is reported, multiple people in the district are alerted and try to solve the problem as quickly as possible.

   

“Everyone can use this app. The information goes out to local and school police, state officials, administrators, district officials, everyone who can help out with the situation are notified,” Ms. Rozanski explains.                        

   

The most recent situation proved that reporting with FortifyFL worked and the police were able to apprehend the person. 

   

An important feature of the app includes choosing if you want your tip to be anonymous. It is convenient since it goes right from your fingertips to district administrators and officials and you are able to upload photos or videos as evidence. On the website and app, steps are provided on how to submit a tip with ease and no problems.

   

If you hear a ‘rumor’ or of a threat of any type, report it. Don’t share it with your friends or on social media. Immediately report it so that the professionals can take swift and appropriate action,” Kitzerow said.

   

The main goal of the FortifyFL app is to easily report threats and suspicious behavior to the proper authorities and let them take over from there. 

  

Ms. Rozanski said, “Everyone has to do the right thing and work together for the safety and well-being of the Bak community.”


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