Schools use tip lines and security apps to expand student safety

Back to School

KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) – Students are officially beginning the new school year and safety is on the mind of many parents and school officials. 

Schools have taken multiple safety precautions over recent years, including building renovations, protective glass, security cameras and guards. 

Schools are now empowering students to use a variety of tools to reach out to administrators about concerns they may have about other students or specific incidents they may have witnessed or heard about. 

Kettering Schools said their Safety Tip Line is the best method for students and parents to reach out. The call line allows students and parents to anonymously report suspicious activity or other concerns.

Fairmont High School has been using the safety line for several years now and said that it has been a good thing for the school.

Principal Tyler Alexander said that communication is one of the key elements to keeping students safe. 

“It’s very difficult for us to handle situations if we don’t know about them,” said Alexander. “[The tip line] is just one of those avenues.”

Officials said that the tip line has been used but that the school does not see an overwhelming number of calls from it. Alexander said they were encouraged by how many students chose to directly report incidents. 

“Most of the things that are reported to us come to us directly from the kids or from the parents” Alexander said.  “They’re not concerned about it being anonymous.”

School districts such as Centerville and Huber Heights are also using similar phone tip lines. Others – such as Tipp City Schools – use an app downloaded onto students’ cell phones.

Earlier this year, Tipp City Schools introduced the Safe Schools Alert App for students and faculty. The app allows students and adults to anonymously report incidents or concerns to school officials. 

Tipp City school officials said the app is yet another tool to look into concerns such as bullying, harassment, drug use, or vandalism.  

The goal of the app is for school officials to be able to prevent future incidents and remove the fear students may have reporting fellow classmates.

Tipp City officials encouraged students to use the app but also said to report concerns in person whenever possible. Reporting in person can allow for a quicker follow-up and helps prevent officials from only receiving partial information.

“What it has done is it has driven conversations for us,” said Alexander. “That’s what we feel is the most important. We need to be able to have discussions with our students, staff, and parents.”

Officials said they hope students are aware of these tools and that they should feel comfortable using them, no matter what specific concerns the student or parent may have. 

“We would rather deal with situations that end up not being concerns than for students to be uncomfortable,” Alexander said. “Our number one goal is safety. And if students aren’t comfortable talking to us, then we’re not doing our job.”

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