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SAFER SCHOOLS NEWS-VOL. 30 

 

  Kids are the Keys!  "The best feature of anonymous reporting? It works," said Green.
Let's Stop the violence! 

    See how KEYS can help!!

 

 

"In almost every incident of school violence, there was a group of people who were not caught off guard. Even though early warning signs were present, adults seemed shocked. However, fellow students knew that something was going to happen.," said Frank Green, Executive Director of Keys To Safer Schools.com. He cites a high school shooting in Austin, Texas, in which two students were injured. Later, an inquiry discovered 54 students had seen the weapon before it was accidentally fired. None of them reported it.

 

"Guaranteeing anonymity to the individual reporting a problem," Green says, "is the key to making student violence-stopping programs work."

Methods for reporting criminal activity vary from School to School. Many are anonymous while others are not. Encouraging students to talk with counselors and teachers is an excellent method. Some schools use a scheduled rap or sharing session where students can openly tell about things they know. Sometimes reporting will only occur when a student reporter can remain unknown. Anonymous hot lines with an answering machine are a common method. Other programs use suggestion boxes or email and Web sites.  Reports Anonymous (c)* is one such site which schools can use as an electronic suggestion box. To maximize anonymity, the school subscribes to the service, rather than using their own website, so that the students know the school does not control it. Posters are placed around the school and community advising to students and even parents of the website for reporting potential problem areas. The school receives a report at specified intervals from the website managers and acts accordingly.

Asked whether anonymity is absolutely guaranteed, Green said that students never have to reveal their names unless they choose to do so. In some cases, though, where a crime is involved, a small monetary reward may be offered that a student can collect by giving up anonymity.

"We believe that the forgotten Stakeholders in school violence are the students, and the best way to get them involved is through a School Charter like Students And Families EmpoweredSAFE. The key is training the SAFE members with Kids are the Keys," said Green. "The SAFE chapters are student-run and student-empowered. That means the students own the operation, and it gets away from the concept of 'narcing' [snitching]. With supervision from an administrator, a student board of directors sets the ground rules for how each chapter is set up. SAFE may be a free standing chapter or incorporated into another organization such as FCCLA."

"The best feature of anonymous reporting? It works," said Green. "Kids are the Keys and a SAFE chapter can stop many crimes and violent incidents from happening. Anonymous tips have solved locker thefts, stopped bullying that could have led to greater violence, and headed off violent incidents."

"The best feature of anonymous reporting? It works," said Green.

 

"Students in any school are the first to learn about Early Warning Signs of school violence. It seems only natural that we should teach them rather than allow them to learn through experience, especially when those experiences can be so painful." Green says, " Kids are the Keys is an excellent method of empowering students and sometimes only they can prevent violence from occurring. This program enables students to communicate danger without them being labeled as snitches or putting themselves in harm's way by angering other students who might hurt them."

This article is compiled from interviews of Frank G. Green during April 2001 by radio and television reporters seeking expert opinion on the subject of School Violence.

*For information on how your school or organization can subscribe to Reports Anonymous (c), contact Keys for a referral to their service. Keys@KeysToSaferSchools.com.

(See the Lock Out Violence Everyday Campaign - A community violence prevention program).

(See SCHOOL SAFETY SITE ASSESSMENT).  

  • To Learn How "Keys To Safer Schools" Can Help.
  • Learning what to look for - "Early Warning Signs"
  • Map of School Shootings
  • Learn about National Reports on Violence
  • If you have any comments or questions please Email us at keys@keystosaferschools.com.

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