Students, staff and parents across the state have a new tool to report any type of safety concern.
The school safety initiative is called Courage 2 Report Missouri. It is being offered through the Missouri Highway Patrol for all schools, both public and private, in grades prekindergarten through high school.
This initiative grew out of the Missouri School Violence Hotline (SVH), which began in October of 2001.
The goal is to make schools safer by helping school districts and law enforcement learn about school violence as soon as possible.
Confidential reports can be made by calling an 800 number, 1-866-748-7047, filling out an online form, or by using a mobile app.
Courage2Report or C2R is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Washington School District began notifying its staff, students and parents about the initiative this week. There is no cost with the program.
“This is a way for anyone to anonymously report any type of school safety concern,” said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Brendan Mahon.
“If the tip is taken by phone a trained analyst will interview the caller and enter the information in a centralized database,” Mahon explained. “If the tip comes electronically it goes directly into the database for review. The analyst will then immediately disseminate the information to the school district and local law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction.”
Mahon said each district or school decides what personnel will receive the information.
“We have decided that both individual building administrators and district administrators will be notified,” he said. “The notification will come via text and email.”
Upon receipt of a notification, Mahon said school officials can go online to access the specific information in the database and take the appropriate steps.
“Depending on the concern, we may work collaboratively with law enforcement officials or handle the concern ourselves using district protocols and procedures,” he said.
Mahon said the Washington School District was in the process of developing its own safety hotline when officials heard Courage2Report was being developed.
“So we are very happy the state has taken on this initiative,” he said. “This is a way for students, or anyone, to report school safety concerns in a confidential manner. The goal for us, and all schools, is that this will empower students to report concerning behavior, when without the confidentiality piece, they may have kept it to themselves.”
Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer said this new tool provides another way for parents and students or anyone who may have information to report to school officials.
“This is not a substitute for face to face communication, but another mechanism that improves safety and reporting processes,” VanLeer said.
Washington High School Principal Dr. Kelle McCallum agreed. “We encourage parents and students to work with building personnel to address problems or concerns, but we also recognize that increased opportunities for communication and reporting can be helpful.”
Any threat to life that happens on school property or the school bus can and should be reported to C2R. This may include assault, a sexual offense, weapons, human trafficking, planned school attack, school shooting, planned suicide or terrorism threat-extremism.
The initiative encourages anyone who learns about school violence to report it. Reports are accepted from parents, school personnel, students, concerned citizens and confidential reporters.
Mahon said the Courage2Report link can be found on the district’s website on the main page.