If You See Something, Say Something

Are students comfortable reporting behavior they find suspicious or threatening?

Photo of Lisa Parish
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How might we encourage our students to feel comfortable reporting suspicious, strange, or threatening online activity? 

Let's face it, it has become the 'norm' for our school children to know how to safely exit buildings during a fire drill and how to "Stop, Drop, and Roll"  Why is that? Simple - they practice it and a lot! 

We need to design innovative ways in our classrooms and our communities to encourage our students to report  any suspicious, strange, or threatening activity they may see online, and make it the new cultural norm.  Students could earn badges as they go through a simulation to practice reporting suspicious behavior. The Des Moines Public School district is piloting a program where students can report suspicious activity anonymously though an app for their high school students, which may lead to financial reward if it leads to preventing or solving a crime.

At all levels, we need to give our students the level of comfort and confidence they need that if they do something out of the ordinary they will report it.

Share research or student experiences that informed your idea!

After the Florida shooting, I was talking to my high school students that we all have a responsibility to report any activity online that is out of the ordinary, and they all agreed with me. But as our conversation turned into one about their daily lives, my students told me it was difficult to "tell on" people because they don't think everyone means everything they post online and they don't want to "snitch" and get people in trouble for little things.


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Photo of John Faig

Great idea. Aside from the important questions raised by @greg Lau, I think students should also be taught to raise community issues that are not specifically related to a particular incident.

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