Regional schools adding anonymous tip reporting system
Kathleen Moore is reporting for the Times Union 16 Capital Region school districts, including two in Greene County and five in Columbia County, are adding an anonymous reporting system to help students report when other students may be in danger of hurting themselves or others. The StopIt system is highly recommended by Sandy Hook Promise, a national nonprofit that developed various school safety measures after the 2012 elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn. StopIt’s anonymous reporting system includes an app, a website and a telephone hotline. Users can submit screenshots, photos, audio and videos, as well as text. StopIt runs a 24-hour response center with specialists who will alert the appropriate officials in each school district in response to reports. In emergencies, they will call 911. The system also allows them to set up two-way messaging with the anonymous informant and school officials or law enforcement so that they can ask questions about a report. The system also gives students and staff access to a crisis text line, which is part of the app and website. That text line will connect them to mental health counselors. The system makes it possible for students to reach out for help, or to report others that need help. The goal is to get help before a student becomes violent. Questar III BOCES contracted with StopIt for member school districts using a grant. Among the school districts adding the program are: Chatham, Hudson, Ichabod Crane, New Lebanon, Taconic Hills, Cairo-Durham, Coxsackie-Athens, East Greenbush and Rensselaer City. Read the full story in the Times Union.