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Say Something introduced in FUHSD

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Crystal Zhu
If students observe any suspicious activty they are encouraged to say something with the new Say Something Anonomous Reporting System, a 24/7 network with a hotline, mobile app and online form.

Aiming to forestall potential acts of violence and safeguard student safety, all five FUHSD schools have implemented the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System this school year. The 24/7 reporting system, through which students are encouraged to submit information about observed threats and violence, consists of a mobile app, a hotline and an online form.

Submitted tips are transferred to the Say Something call center, where trained crisis counselors evaluate the severity of the situation, which usually involves asking follow-up questions to gain as much information as possible. If the tip is determined to be a credible threat or an imminent danger, the call center not only sends school administration text messages about the threat, but also calls district staff until someone picks up.  A wide net of phone calls counteracts any potential situation where multiple people are unreachable, allowing for faster intervention. The call center concurrently contacts police dispatch for a more robust response. Even if a reported case is not life-threatening, Say Something crisis counselors will email and text information to the school site team about how to provide support.

“When we get tips, we’re going to take them seriously and investigate them,” Assistant Principal Tara Grande said. “We’re going to make sure that we’re overly cautious, as are the police.”

FUHSD admin and teachers were trained on using the SS-ARS before the school year began. In the auditorium, teachers watched a Sandy Hook Promise video that introduces the system, which was shown to students on their Aug. 28 advisory. Furthermore, the importance of an avenue like the SS-ARS, where students can feel comfortable reporting their concerns, was stressed to the faculty.

“We want to be able to respond to any issues our students may be going through in a timely manner,” English teacher Joanna Chan said.

The SS-ARS replaces a Google form previously used at Lynbrook, housed in the student section of the school website. Though the content is similar across both forms, a trained staff responds to tips submitted over the SS-ARS, making it more immediate. 

“The new system wraps around way more than our little Google doc did,” Grande said. “It’s more responsive, so we can better help the students that need help.”

A large concern for staff was that students would not take the system seriously, and therefore their inboxes would be filled with trivial information from false tips. Nevertheless, this has not turned out to be an issue. Furthermore, the sorting at the call center helps minimize the disingenuous reports, so genuine concerns can receive the attention they deserve.

Another source of unease was that the SS-ARS would be unused by students. This has not been the case so far, owing in part to the Say Something posters in many classrooms and around the school. These posters encourage students to report any threats they worry about, which may help them feel more comfortable coming to school.

The SS-ARS has proved helpful, as, according to a statement released by Principal Maria Jackson on Sept. 14, admin and police were called in to address a tip about threatening messages left in a girls’ bathroom. Ultimately, the situation was deemed not to be an imminent danger, but admin are thankful that the student reported their concerns.

“I hope the SS-ARS will give students the peace of mind that they can be helpful and they can report something,” Grande said. “Our ultimate goal is for all of our students to be safe and feel comfortable at school.”

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About the Contributors
Sarah Zhang, Staffer
(she/her) Sarah is a senior and second-year staffer. She spends her time exploring the poetry of life, through music, writing, and design. She enjoys dreaming, being on the internet, watching Asian films, blogging, appreciating whimsical design, reading biology papers, joking with her friends, (list non-exhaustive)...
Crystal Zhu, Staffer
(she/her/they/them) Crystal is a sophomore and a first-year staffer on the Epic. In her free time, she likes to read, draw and write. Aside from that, she enjoys spicy food, desserts, and watching sad movies.

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