JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri- Reporting school violence or threats of violence is important says the Missouri Department o f Social Services.
“It is not snitching or tattling to report someone who is planning to hurt classmates or school staff. You may be saving lives and helping your friend or classmate get the help they need. If you hear or see something that is school violence including bullying, cyber bullying, fighting, gang activity, sexual misconduct, threats, weapons or observe something that makes you think a violent event is being planned,” they explain.
First they advise students to tell their teacher, counselor, school resource officer, or principal.
If you feel that you cannot tell someone at school, then tell your parents or a trusted adult, they say.
If a student feels they cannot tell an adult, they can call the HOTLINE at 1-866-748-7047. They say you do not need to leave your name.
How does the School Violence Hotline work?
Callers can report school violence concerns to trained, friendly dispatchers at 1-866-748-7047. The dispatcher will create a report of your concern and forward the information immediately. If you choose not to speak to a dispatcher directly, you may also use the online report form. A copy of the report is faxed or e–mailed to law enforcement and the school district official. Local law enforcement and the school district officials will determine how to most appropriately handle the situation.
Who can call the hotline?
Anyone can call the hotline. The School Violence Hotline accepts calls from students, parents, school personnel, and concerned citizens. Calls are always FREE in the United States and can be made from your cell phone, home phone, a pay phone, or a school phone. You never have to give your name and the hotline does not have caller ID.
Is the hotline a statewide service? Does it cover any community in the state?
The School Violence Hotline is a hotline for all of the state of Missouri. The School Violence Hotline will take calls concerning any public or private schools in Missouri, pre–kindergarten – 12th grade. We take reports occurring on school property, at a school event, on the school bus, at the bus stop, and on the way to and from school.
Does the caller have to give their name?
No, callers never have to leave their name and can always remain anonymous. We do not use caller ID.
If I call the hotline, am I speaking to a real person?
The School Violence Hotline is staffed Monday thru Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. During these hours of operation, professional and friendly dispatchers answer calls and gather information to send reports. There is a recording for after hours with an option to leave a message. If a caller leaves a message with a phone number, a dispatcher will call them the next working day morning. After–hour callers are informed to call 9-1-1, if the incident of school violence requires immediate attention.
If I call the hotline, what information will I be required to give?
A dispatcher will ask you to give the name or describe the person who is intending or committing harm. If you can give names, grades, and the location of the people involved, including any victims, targets, or witnesses, this is very helpful. Dispatchers will also need the name of the school and the city where the incident has occurred or is occurring. No one will require you to give your name.
Dispatchers ask questions about the incident of school violence:
What happened? When did it happen? Where did it occur? Did anyone see or hear what happened?
Dispatchers try to obtain as much information as possible so that a complete report can be sent to local school officials and law enforcement.
Is there any follow up? How do I know if a situation is resolved?
The School Violence Hotline follows up on each report in approximately 30 days after the original call. Hotline staff will call each school administrator, law enforcement officer, and caller, if the caller chose to leave their name. The hotline dispatcher asks each party involved if the situation improved and then documents specific outcomes including monitoring, counseling, intervention, school disciplinary actions, juvenile referrals, mental health referrals, and sometimes arrests.
Dispatchers also ask the callers, schools, and law enforcement to rate their school violence hotline experience. In the 2013 grant period, nearly 100% of the callers who answered the survey were pleased with the professionalism and customer service they received when making their hotline report to the School Violence Hotline dispatchers. The hotline is a public service, and the hotline’s staff wants to provide the best possible service for students and concerned adults, they say.
CALL 1-866-748-7047, toll-free or fill out an online form here.