Anonymous helpline gives students a way to report problems
Every day, countless children are bullied at school. Many of us can relate with our own tales of being teased on the playground. However, bullying today is unlike the days of old. In the past kids could go home to the safety of their homes and escape the situation. But with cyber bullying, kids are often unable to escape the bully, even in their own bedrooms. Why? Because the bullies are lurking and taunting online.
Predicting what might push a child to become suicidal, vengeful, or homicidal is not easy, but there are usually some recognizable outward signs. Speaking up when those signs are present can save lives. On the other hand, silence can be deadly. Unfortunately many violent threats made at school go unreported.
The sound of silence
Studies examining patterns of school violence reveal that an offender’s peers are often aware of an incident before it occurs. They overhear a student’s threat or read it on social media. Yet embarrassment, reluctance to betray a friends’ trust, or fear of being targeted themselves, make them reluctant to report it. Police, teachers, and other authorities lack crucial, potentially life-saving information, often until it’s too late.
Administrators and parents want to help students break their silence. But how can students be encouraged to speak up—and still assured of their safety? One measure is to give schools access to a free, confidential hotline. Callers’ identities are protected and administrators can take immediate action in response to tips.
Giving victims a voice
One such service is the Safe School Helpline, provided to schools nationwide by Security Voice, Inc. Students, parents, staff, and community members can call the hotline regarding any threat to student safety including weapon possession, sexual harassment, vandalism, drug use and cyber bullying. Security Voice also provides a live, 24-7 suicide helpline, which students can use to speak with trained, certified counselors to get the support they need.
The Safe School Helpline serves more than 6,000 schools, representing more than 1 million students across 15 states. It has recently added Internet and text reporting capabilities and can translate tips provided in any language.
Of course, a system is only effective if it gets used. That’s why One Call Now is offering Security Voice’s Safe School Helpline at a discount price to all of our existing clients. In doing so, we hope to help break the cycle of silence, not just in our schools, but also in churches, businesses, and other types of organizations.
We can’t wipe out violence completely; however, when a threat is made we can help ensure it gets reported. When people have the confidence to speak freely, we’re all safer as a result.