At Mason City Schools, signs are posted that encourage students who are worried about threats of violence or the mental health of a classmate to share those concerns, even anonymously, if need be.
“If it’s late at night and you saw something on (an Instagram) story or, you know, somebody’s text, you don’t have to hold that weight all night long. They can go on the tip line, and we’ve got folks who are monitoring that who can get them help,” said district spokeswoman Tracey Carson.
As a school resource officer at Edgewood Middle School, Patrick Carr knows a lot about social media threats students make in the middle of the night.
“It never goes away,” Carr said.
But Carr is grateful for tips that alert him to potential trouble, because the earlier he knows about a threat, the faster he and other officers can investigate.
“We wake up. We log on to provide them the assistance they need to be able to find whoever it is to have a conversation with them, to ask them about what they just posted,” Carr said.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine fully supports students who take their own safety seriously.
After a mass shooting earlier this year in Dayton, DeWine created a school safety center to help districts better handle threats of violence.
He also wants students to call or text a statewide hot line if they feel something’s not quite right.
“If they see some threats, they can refer it to our center and we can do a search on social media,” DeWine said. “In other words, we can try to fill the rest of the picture out. We have to do as much as we can to give our schools more tools, more ability to keep our kids safe.”
Carson said empowering young people is making a big difference for students in Mason.
“It does save lives, and we are grateful for them for stepping up,” she said.
Mason has its own tip line. So far this school year, Carson said the district has received 92 Safe School tips, up from 55 all of last year.
Mason City Schools has been using the SafeSchools Alert Anonymous Tip Reporting System since 2013 to stay connected to their students, staff, and parents and to prevent crises before they occur. To help safeguard its school community, the district is using SafeSchools Alert, which allows students, staff, and parents to submit safety concerns to administration in multiple ways, including: mobile app, website, phone, text, or email.
The district encourages its community members to “see something, say something” and report tips on bullying, harassment, drugs, vandalism or any safety issues they’re concerned about through SafeSchools Alert. Every tip submitted through SafeSchools Alert is immediately logged in the system and administration is notified so that they can investigate and take appropriate action. And, tips may also be submitted anonymously if you prefer.