JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) — Following bullying and other safety concerns, a new anonymous reporting program has been launched at Jamestown Public Schools with the hopes of increasing dialogue between staff and students.
This new program is called “See Something, Say Something.”
“Student mental health, student anxiety, student concern, and not to mention adults as well. Everything I’m gonna mention has to do with adults too. So we know that it’s important that students have the opportunity to talk about concerns that they have whether it’s their own personal concerns or a concern that they note in one of their friends or something that they hear,” says Superintendent of Jamestown Public School’s Kevin Whitaker.
According to Whitaker, students are becoming less likely to report concerns in person, and therefore, the school needed to make accommodations. As a result a new website to record reports, which students can access via QR codes around the school, was launched.
“That concern is then reviewed and categorized by professionals who deem it either a life safety risk or important risk and then there are teams who have been trained in our schools who that information is sent to. That teams will analyze and then intervene in whatever way is appropriate given the circumstances. So if it’s a very serious life safety threat, that also involves things like EMS and police and potentially the Fire Department and things like that,” explains Whitaker.
The system is made possible via a partnership with Sandy Hook Promise and Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES. Grant funded, the effort has been in the works since the summer.
Students in grades 6-12, as well as teachers and administrators, were trained to recognize warning signals and threats on social media, in school, or in their community.
“I do know that staff are aware very clearly that students are the ones with eyes out on social media and in conversations whether it’s in hallways or houses or living rooms wherever it happens to be of what is transpiring with their peers,” says Whitaker.
So far, all reports have been able to be resolved.
“What has transitioned is something that school counselors and psychologists aren’t necessarily designed to do which is around mental health and care for and support around mental health. And that’s a new and emerging trend in school counseling and one of the reasons why we have social workers,” explains Whitaker.
The school district also has a comprehensive school threat assessment team of people trained in a nationally recognized program to respond to threats.