VUSD students can ‘Say Something’ through anonymous tips

(Rigo Moran)

Visalia Unified School District launches “Say Something,” which is an anonymous reporting system that both students and staff can utilize to report concerning behavior

VISALIA – Students can now alert school officials of any intent to harm oneself or others courtesy of a new anonymous reporting system implemented by Visalia Unified School District (VUSD). This is just the latest step of the district’s ongoing safety campaign, which has also featured a new bus tracking system as well as ongoing active shooter training.

On Oct. 30, VUSD launched “Say Something,” a no-cost, anonymous reporting system that’s being implemented in districts nationwide thanks to the efforts of the Sandy Hook Promise nonprofit. The system will be monitored 24/7 by a crisis center, and messages will be received and triaged by both the center and teams of trained administrators such as principals, school psychologists and youth resource officers.

“We’re excited to finally launch this platform at Visalia Unified,” said VUSD Superintendent Kirk Shrum in a press release. “We received incredible support from our Tulare County Office of Education and our local law enforcement, who have seen this platform be a very effective tool in keeping students and staff safe.”

As of publication, 25 school districts have implemented this new system, with 13 more in the process of doing the same by completing the training required to operate it. Once they receive training, the administrative teams will be able to work hand in hand with the crisis center, who will contact local law enforcement in cases of immediate danger.

“The Tulare County Office of Education (TCOE) fully supports the Say Something system and I’ve seen it work in an actual emergency,” said TCOE Superintendent Tim Hire via press release. “The (crisis center) is impressively thorough in vetting risks and passing information on to the appropriate school and law enforcement personnel.”

In the coming weeks, students in sixth to 12th grade will be educated on the app’s importance and receive training on how to use it, specifically how to submit an anonymous tip. To submit tips, students and staff can use either the mobile app, visit the link which is now on all VUSD school websites, or call 844-5-SayNow.

During their upcoming training, students will learn how to empathize with others, seek help when needed, identify problems and analyze situations, as well as solve problems in an ethically-responsible manner.

During the last two years, VUSD’s board of education have emphasized their focus on student and staff safety through their implementation of a piloted Raptor system, ensuring there’s a single point of entry at each school site, and improving their visitor management and volunteer system. Their current safety focus is on giving students active shooter training through age-appropriate curriculum, which was covered by The Sun-Gazette in a past article.

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