Methods: Based on extant research and focus group research, we designed the mobile Advocatr app for high school students to report confidential concerns related to school safety. The reporting tool is supported by nine instructional activities delivered by classroom teachers and by “Did-You-Know” informational briefs to increase understanding of and engagement with the app. We then conducted user acceptance tests on the app’s usability with students, school staff and parents in one school each in the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest.
Results: Feedback indicated widespread support for the technology/user interface and content of the Advocatr app, along with a lack of certainty about whether the app was compatible with schools’ cell phone policies. Geographic differences (Pacific Northwest vs. Midwest) were detected in user acceptance reports, with particularly stark differences among school staff.
Conclusions: Findings from user acceptance tests provided early indications that the Advocatr app would be used by students to report concerns relevant to school safety. However, many questions remain regarding this app’s ongoing capture of potentially sensitive data. In light of early findings from feasibility testing, we address potential factors in student reporting of safety concerns, including the efficient management of student reported data and identification of critical information, administrator responsiveness, teachers’ social-emotional competence and ability to forge positive relationships, and procedural and compliance issues (i.e., with existing discipline practices).