Robbinsdale Schools: New Threat Reporting System Thwarted Violence
Robbinsdale Area Schools rolled out a new threat reporting system this year. School officials say it has already prevented violence in schools.
The district’s “Say Something” reporting system lets anyone anonymously report concerns that a student may become violent.
Reports can be made using an app, a website, or by phone.
The service is offered by the nonprofit Sandy Hook Promise.
“I think it was our second or third day — we had a significant amount of tips coming in,” said John Groenke, executive director of student services at Robbinsdale Area Schools. “Twenty, 30 different tips come in and we responded to those. And what’s encouraging is that kids were responding, you know, and without that, they might not have said anything.”
While some reports have not been legitimate, others have been credible, Groenke said.
“Sandy Hook Promise told us when you roll it out, you also have some non-credible stuff,” Groenke said. “Kids playing with the system. But generally it’s been incidents where people feel comfortable doing it anonymously, and we get enough information to be able to… help respond.”
Robbinsdale Schools is one of 5,000 schools or school districts across the country using the system.
“We were able to, even over the weekend, be able to in these cases, work with law enforcement,” Groenke said.
Reporting System Is Available for All
Groenke didn’t offer specific details on any incident, but said that there have been a small number of troubling social media posts reported through the system.
“We’ve had incidents reported — well there’s social media posts, things that have [been] done that we’ve gotten in front of and been able to deal with,” he said.
Students can report more than immediate threats of violence. That is, tipsters can report troubling social media posts, or a personal crisis such as depression, sexual harassment or abuse.
“It could be someone just trying to support a friend that may be going through something,” Groenke said. “If you able to get enough information then you can respond and be able to help with the situation… The situations where it rises to the district level, we were able to respond and keep kids safe.”
The reporting system is available to students across the district, as well as parents, neighbors or anyone else in the community.
Students are still building relationships with trusted adults and reporting problematic situations in person, according to Groenke.
“This allows kids to do it in a way where it’s quick, it’s easy,” he said. “Bottom line, students are going to learn when they feel safe. So big picture, if our students come to school knowing that it’s safe and they’re going to be safe, and that they have a way to interact with a trusted adult, that’s going to be successful for us.”