November 20, 2013
Heartbreaking statistics remind us that bullying is still one of Kentucky’s major school safety issues. In an effort to support schools in their daily challenge to meet the needs of all students and provide a safe school climate conducive to learning, Kentucky Center for School Safety is proud to announce their development of an online bullying reporting/prevention tool. The “Safety Tipline Online Prevention” or STOP! Tipline is designed to allow students, parents or community members to report any unsafe situation (bullying, weapons, drugs or alcohol, etc.) to school personnel anonymously. This tip line will be “free” to all Kentucky schools.
“Today’s students are cyber citizens and a large majority of these students communicate via technology with ease and find it hard to bring a problem to an adult face-to-face,” says Jon Akers, KCSS Executive Director. “By offering school districts the “online option” for bullying/violence reporting, KCSS hopes to provide another layer of protection, reaching more students and addressing these issues before they escalate,” continues Akers.
With the use of their cell phone, tablet or a computer, students or community members can access the tip line by locating the STOP Tipline logo on their school’s website. Immediately, they can report bullying, cyber-bullying, violence, risky behavior or other safety concerns to school personnel by using a basic email format. Tips can be left anonymously or students may choose to have someone contact them. More information can be found about the tip line at www.kycss.org/stop/about.php
The STOP! Tipline will be launched on November 18th by a pilot group of seven school districts. They include: Crittenden County School District, Fulton Independent School District, Graves County School District, Henderson County School District, Hopkins County School District, Livingston County School District, and Mayfield Independent School District. Over the last six months representatives from each of these school districts collaborated with KCSS staff at the Resource Center at the College of Education on the campus of Murray State University helping to refine the tip line and the process used to manage it within the school district.
If all goes as planned, the STOP! Tipline will be offered “free of charge” to all Kentucky school districts starting in early February. Plans are being made to provide information and an overview of the tip line at the Kentucky School Board Association Annual Conference.
The announcement of the STOP! Tipline comes on the heels of Kentucky Safe School Week and it aligns with this year’s theme “Safety Teamwork Opportunity Power; STOP! Bullying, Violence and Risky Behavior in our Schools! ( www.kysafeschools.org ) The STOP! Tipline is one more resource that can enhance each school’s Comprehensive Safe School Plan, which is always a work in progress to ensure the safety of Kentucky’s children.