WS/FCS launches ‘Say Something’ Anonymous Reporting System
Published 12:11 pm Monday, December 27, 2021
As Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools head into winter break, the district has officially launched the “Say Something” Anonymous Reporting System (SS-ARS) for students, which most North Carolina public school districts are adopting this year to meet the reporting guidelines and standards developed by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction and the Center for Safer Schools. In middle and high schools, SS-ARS will replace the WS/FCS Bully Patrol reporting system currently used.
Say Something is a youth violence prevention program from the national nonprofit organization Sandy Hook Promise, which has funding to provide the program and training at no cost to the district.
The SS-ARS allows youth and adults to securely submit anonymous safety concerns — anytime, from anywhere — to help identify and intervene upon at-risk individuals before they hurt themselves or others. The system enables school administrators and law enforcement to create effective interventions and to help prevent violence, suicide, bullying, self-harm and other forms of threatening behavior.
“If a student needs to speak up about a concern — whether it’s about themselves or someone else — but they don’t know who to turn to, Say Something is here,” said Executive Director of the Center for Safer Schools Bo Caldwell. “It’s a robust system that’s always on, always accessible, and it allows students to voice their concerns anonymously, while making sure their messages are heard by the right adults.”
Designed specifically for use by students in grades 6-12, SS-ARS provides three reporting platforms (mobile app, website, 24/7 phone hotline) for users to submit tips — and a crisis center to examine and triage those tips. When credible tips are received, the crisis center will notify school-based representatives, even after hours when tips are life-threatening and require immediate intervention. And, in cases of imminent threat, the crisis center will contact local 911 dispatch and involve law enforcement.
The Say Something program is for reporting any type of serious concerns about students who are struggling or potentially violent. So “tipsters” can send reports on anything from school threats they’ve seen or overheard to personal crises including sexual harassment, self-harm and depression.
Students can submit a tip through the online Say Something system at www.saysomething.net directly, or navigate from the district and schools’ website homepages by clicking the WS/FCS Say Something page. The free app is available for download from the App Store and Google Play Store, and students can submit tips through the hotline by calling 1-844-5-SAYNOW.
WS/FCS joins 2,364 schools and school districts already participating in the Say Something system, with more than 1.7 million students and adults trained in the SS-ARS, according to Sandy Hook Promise.
Locally, WS/FCS administrators and “Say Something” response teams at each school have been training throughout the fall with SS-ARS. Middle and high school students have been learning how to use the system during trainings in school throughout December.
“This system will be a valuable resource to us,” said WS/FCS Chief Safety, Security and Emergency Management Officer Jonathan Wilson. “Similar to our already used Bully Patrol system, this will add extra eyes and more layers of communication when students have information we need to know. While this system is not designed for elementary students, we will continue to operate the WS/FCS Bully Patrol anonymous reporting system for our elementary students. They often also have important information school leaders should know.” That phone number and electronic reporting system information will continue to be found on elementary school websites.