The Times West Virginian

August 16, 2008

AmberView participation rising

Fairview Middle leading state in percentage of students enrolled

By Katie Wilson

FAIRMONT — Fairview Middle School has a higher percentage of students enrolled in AmberView than any other school in the state, officials said Friday.

AmberView is an innovative program, developed in West Virginia, that assists law enforcement by quickly issuing an up-to-date digital picture of a missing or abducted child. AmberView officials have seen participation rise dramatically in the last year.

AmberView is an initiative of the West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation, located in Fairmont.

At Fairview Middle, 97 percent of students are enrolled in the program.

Principal Steve Rodriguez said he and his staff believe AmberView is another way of protecting children, so they think it’s a great idea.

To help get kids enrolled, Rodriguez and his staff informed parents and made a push to get everyone involved.

“We think it’s a good program for the protection of our children,” he said.

According to a written statement from WVHTC, Marion County as a whole has 67 percent of its schoolchildren enrolled in AmberView, the third highest of all counties in the state. Summers County is the highest, with 73 percent registered.

“AmberView commends the parents and children of Fairview Middle School for their participation,” said Robert Chico, AmberView program manager. “While children account for 20 percent of our population, they are 100 percent of our future. We thank the parents of Fairview Middle School and Marion County children for participating in this exciting new technology.”

AmberView photos are taken each year on school picture day at elementary, middle and high schools across the state. If parents miss the opportunity, they may also submit a digital photo of their child. Those digital images are stored in a secure database that’s accessible only to the West Virginia State Police’s Amber Alert coordinator.

If a child goes missing or an official Amber Alert is issued, AmberView works by instantly mass broadcasting a recent digital picture and biographical information of the missing child to law enforcement, news media and citizens.

AmberView is available to children ages 3-17 across West Virginia. In addition to public schools, K-12 students attending private schools, home schools, Head Start, preschools and daycare centers also participate.

Parental consent is required.

For more information, visit www.amberview.org.

E-mail Katie Wilson at kwilson@timeswv.com.