Brian Peteritas is a GOVERNING contributor.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Schools across the country grapple with how to prevent bullying and other tragic events from occurring on their watch. One way school officials are facing those challenges is with threat reporting programs like TIPS (Threat Assessment, Incident, Management & Prevention Services). This Web-based program provides parents, students, faculty and staff the ability to submit incident reports on events such as bullying, threats of violence or suicide, and possesion of drugs or weapons. Users can choose to preserve their anonymity and preview posts before sending, then reports are sent to a designated threat team for follow-up. The program offers schools and colleges the benefits of a centralized system where information on threats can be stored and monitored, as well as a variety of reporting and documentation options for compliance with laws like anti-bullying statutes and the federal Clery Act. Initially developed for use in higher education, the system is currently in place at over thirty colleges in Virginia, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Arizona. Recently, online threat reporting has also been adopted by a few K-12 schools as well.