'Anonymous App' Causing Problems At Broken Arrow High School
Broken Arrow police are now monitoring teens' posts on an app called Yik Yak - it's like Twitter but you can post anonymously - and some B.A. students are hiding behind that veil to threaten their peers.
Teens are using the app maliciously, and some of the comments are vulgar; including recent posts which talked about rioting against school administrators.
The app has become problematic for schools all across the country, and now in Broken Arrow.
Just another avenue for high school drama, is how Broken Arrow police describe the app Yik Yak; but they also know threats being made on the app must be taken seriously.
Corporal Leon Calhoun, with BAPD said, "There's been assaults and things like that escalated because of someone saying something on Twitter, or Facebook. Something they possibly wouldn't have even stated in person."
The app is anonymous. It uses GPS to pull comments from people around you.
It's caused so much trouble at high schools across the country that app developers used geofencing to block the app on most high school campuses, telling CBS Chicago in March that they were "...working towards technical ways to prevent these under-age users from accessing our app."
Broken Arrow High School wasn't blocked from the app until administrators called the developers last week.
"These are just new tools that kids use for the same types of things that have been going on in high schools for years,” said Shelli Holland-Handy with Broken Arrow Public Schools.
Broken Arrow teachers and administrators are stressing that students be kind. They're concerned that the multitude of non-serious threats will divert them from real threats, inhibiting student safety.
"Any time there is a credible threat to safety, we take that very seriously,” said Holland-Handy.
Broken Arrow police are warning students that threats on Yik Yak can result in criminal charges.
"We're obviously not going to stand by and let someone threaten somebody and not do anything, and then someone actually takes action on that,” Calhoun said.
Broken Arrow has a great tradition of teaching students anti-bullying through programs like Rachel's Challenge, which they're doing this week.
Administrators are asking parents to keep an eye on what teens are doing on their phones.