As a school district, we are committed to creating and sustaining a comprehensive, coordinated effort to improve the overall safety and well-being of our students, educators and administrators.
To do this, we believe this must involve community-wide programs and initiatives involving parents, teachers, administrators, local law enforcement, mental health & wellness professionals and elected officials to take meaningful action to protect our students.
Today, I am happy to announce the district-wide launch of the “Say Something Anonymous Reporting System” (SS-ARS). This program teaches students, teachers, and administrators how to recognize warning signs and signals, especially within social media, of individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others and Say Something to a trusted adult OR use its anonymous reporting system. Specifically, the program educates participants to:
- Recognize the signs and signals of at-risk behaviors – especially within social media
- Take every sign and signal seriously; act quickly to get help by talking to a trusted adult OR
- Report it anonymously through SS-ARS 24/7 Crisis Center, mobile app, or website
- Respond to and manage the submitted tip via a multi-disciplinary educator and administrator teams
- Sustain the curriculum and awareness via student clubs, in-school activities and call-to-action weeks
Our students often are aware of the problems their peers are facing, so we must empower them to know the danger signs and give them the tools to help each other with the assistance of trained and caring adults. As you know, most conversations are taking place on social media, therefore it is critical that we teach our students to be looking out for one another as these digital conversations are taking place. SS-ARS teaches them what to look for in text, video and photos while empowering them to act quickly to help a fellow student.
The SS-ARS program is being provided through Sandy Hook Promise (SHP), a nation-wide non-profit organization. SHP’s programs are in 50 states and more than 14 million youth and adults have participated in the Know the Signs programs. They have a track record, reputation, and knowledge of how to work effectively with kids, parents, and teachers to improve school safety and culture. The program is age-appropriate and research-based. They also have funding to provide and sustain the program at NO COST to the district. To date, SS-ARS and other SHP prevention programs have helped stop multiple school shootings, suicides, and gun threats; reduced bullying and cyberbullying; intervened upon cutting, drug use, racial conflicts, and other violent and victimization acts. We know this program will do the same for our district.
If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call or email me directly.