In the aftermath of increased gun violence threats, the Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) announced a new phone app that will allow students to submit threat tips to law enforcement anonymously.
The announcement came at a Monday meeting at Chula Vista High School where students, parents, and school and law enforcement officials shared an open floor and discussed school safety issues.
The app, Student Speak Out, will connect students with Crime Stoppers and local law enforcement and put tip submittal right at their fingertips.
While some parents were pleased with the implementation of the app, they're concerned that the police department's staffing shortage will bottleneck the app's effectiveness.
"If there's not enough people to follow through on the comments being made or address on how theyre going to prevent it in the future, that app is not going to be any good," parent Holly Alfaro said.
Police said they are dealing with extremely low staffing levels across the department that makes it difficult to provide extra school security. Chula Vista, the second largest city in San Diego County, is home to 61 schools and only has 10 school resource officers for all of them to share.
"It certainly presents a challenge because each officer has multiple schools responsible for," CVPD Capt. Vern Sallee said. "And they can't get to some of the schools as fast as they can to deal with some of the problems."
Those who attended heard from SUHSD Superintendent Karen Janney, Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas-Salas and CVPD Chief Roxana Kennedy.
Safety presentations by SUHSD security officials and CVPD’s School Resource Officer Unit were also shared. Police said they would like voters to approve a new sales tax that will allow them to hire more officers.
"I think they needed to address more of how they're going to ensure keeping our children safe, not just giving me numbers," Alfaro said. "Honestly, the meeting as a whole did not meet my expectations. There were a lot of things I felt were not addressed."