Big Walnut’s Safe School Hotline active
By LENNY C. LEPOLA
News Assistant Managing Editor
During the January 14 Big Walnut Local School District Board of Education meeting, district assistant superintendent Gary Barber gave an update on the school district’s plans to contract with an outside provider of an anonymous reporting system to conform to the mandates of HB 116, the Jessica Logan Act. HB 116 was named in memory of Jessica Logan, a Cincinnati teenager who committed suicide after being harassed via cyber-bullying.
Under mandates of the Jessica Logan Act, educators are responsible for investigating and prosecuting complaints (including anonymous reports) of cyber-bullying, even if the material was created on the student’s own time, away from school groups and apart from any school-sanctioned activity. This would include emails, postings on Facebook and other social networks.
At that board meeting Barber said the Big Walnut district’s contract with Safe School Helpline would be active within a week; and on Wednesday, January 23, a letter and explanatory video were posted on the district website noting that the 24/7 helpline is now active.
“The implementation of the The Safe School Hotline … gives students, staff, parents and community members the opportunity to anonymously report anything that may put our students, staff or schools in danger,” Barber wrote. “This would include reporting a crime, harassment, drug or alcohol abuse, reckless driving or any other illegal activity that could affect our district.”
Barber said callers may make a report 24/7 and the schools will be notified.
“Licensed counselors will be on the phone and they will relay information to designated district personnel,” Barber wrote. “The Safe School Hotline utilizes a unique, automated telephone service which allows callers to report an allegation or concern confidentially and anonymously.”
Barber said The Safe School Hotline may be accessed in one of three ways – by calling 800–418-6423 extension 359, through the web at < www.safeschoolhelpline.com >, or by texting TIPS to 66746.
“In our vision, we state that we are striving to be a warm, safe, welcoming environment — this part of our vision is our foundation,” Barber added. “We know that if student’s and family’s psychological and safety needs are not met, we will never take our students to their maximum potential, which is our ultimate goal.”
Barber said if anyone has questions about The Safe School Hotline feel free to contact any school district building principal, Barber, or any other member of the Big Walnut Local School District administrative team.