Schools launch new safety alert program

WSU has a similar program for concerns over health, safety

DEENA MIGLIAZZO, Evergreen reporter

Pullman School District launched a new program to allow students and community members to anonymously report bullying, harassment, drugs, vandalism or any safety concerns around campus.

The program, SafeSchools Alert, allows students or parents to submit safety tips to school administration in four different ways: by phone, text, email or online, said Joe Thornton, Pullman School District director of operations. The link to SafeSchools Alert can be found on the homepage of each school website and the district website, he said.

Each tip is immediately logged into the district’s system and administration is notified, Thornton said. They can then examine the problem and find the appropriate course of action.

The program went live two weeks ago, Thornton said, and one alert has been submitted.

WSU launched a program similar to SafeSchools Alert eight years ago, which is more focused on providing mental health care to students.

Karen Fischer, associate dean of students, said the AWARE Network is meant to give students a way to help their peers that might need mental healthcare by submitting a report online that their friend may be struggling with emotional or physical issues.

“It is a tool that allows members of the community to share their concerns that they have about a particular student’s well-being or behavior with another colleague,” Fischer said.

Students who see signs of distress in their peers, such as extreme anxiety, aggressive or threatening speech, or direct suicidal statements, can use the AWARE Network to ask a professional to reach out to a friend or classmate.

Students and community members can submit a form on the AWARE Network website at WSU The forms are emailed to a number of officials at the university, Fischer said.

The dean of students, Counseling and Psychological Services, Health & Wellness Services, Residence Life, Student Conduct and the Office for Equal Opportunity will be notified immediately, the website states.

Fischer said the program is a tool to help the administration assist students in their time of need without calling them out in front of their peers.