Safe Schools Helpline
There are occasionally times when students or parents would like to provide information to a school but hesitate because they do not want their identities known. Providing open, direct communication with the community has long been a basic practice for the Fort Smith Public Schools. The Board of Education now offers the Safe School Helpline®, another method to allow parents and community to provide input.
Whether it is a student who fears being called a ‘snitch’ or ‘narc’ by peers or a resident who worries about vandalism in retaliation for reporting a crime, possession or use of drugs or alcohol, reckless driving, or any other illegal activity. Safe School Helpline® provides a solution.
The Safe School Helpline® utilizes a unique, automated telephone service that allows callers to report an allegation, concern, or suggestion confidentiality and anonymously. The caller’s identity is protected. He or she is never asked to give a name. The voice message is typed then faxed to school officials. In this way, no one except an operator hears the voice. Calls are made through an 800 number. If the caller would prefer to speak with a live mental health counselor, they can do so by selecting option ‘3’. For those who prefer reporting via the Internet, reports can be made by logging onto www.safeschoolhelpline.com. You can also text 66746 then type TIPS and follow the prompt
Each call is assigned a case number. The caller can then call back to the Helpline to check the school’s progress on the call, or to provide more information.
A caller may make a report 24/7 and the schools will be notified the next school day. Ordinarily, the principal of the school, or designee where the alleged offense occurred, will investigate. Should a crime such possession of a weapon be reported, the superintendent will be notified immediately, day or night, and he or the designee can contact the police department. As with any allegation against a student of a staff member, no public action would be taken until guilt is proven.
Posters promoting the Safe School Helpline® are be located in the schools. Specific information is distributed yearly by each Fort Smith school.