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Courage2Report is way to confidentially report school safety concerns to authorities

Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 6:20 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - With the school year about to begin, the Missouri State Highway Patrol wants to remind the public of its “Courage2Report” program, which is a way for school staff, parents or students to confidentially report concerns over school safety issues.

In a time where school shootings and violence among students is an ever-increasing concern, the Courage2Report program allows anyone to either call, go online, or use their mobile app to report problems such as assault, bullying, weapons at the school, planned attacks, or sexual offenses and human trafficking.

Your choices in accessing the Courage2Report program are:

-- through an Apple or Google Play Courage2Report mobile app,

--by making an online report via http://www.mshp.dps.missouri.gov/MSHPWeb/Courage2ReportMO/index.html

-- making a phone call to 866-748-7047.

“We work with our students and tell them if they see something, say something,” said Dr. Della Bell-Freeman, the Superintendent at Spokane.

“So these platforms set up a way to do that in a quick, anonymous confidential way to alert law enforcement and school officials,” added Dr. Bret Range, the Springfield Public School’s Executive Director of School and Student Services.“Then we start going through the problem-solving process of how we’re going to handle this in an appropriate manner. We work with the principal on what are our next steps, who are we going to follow up with, who are we going to talk to and how are we going to resolve this situation.”

“Tips are answered 24 hours-a-day, 365 days-a-year by trained communication professionals,” said Sgt. Mike McClure with the Missouri Highway Patrol. “We’ve had situations like a student talking about doing harm to themselves and the person the student was talking to used this program to ultimately save this kid’s life.”

The help provided by the Courage2Report system is wide-ranging.

For instance at Springfield Public Schools, the state’s largest district?

“The one we get the most reports of is bullying,” Range said.

“What’s different today versus yesteryear is the fact that bullying would stop when the students left and went home,” McClure added. “Now with social media the bullying doesn’t stop, it continues.”

Meanwhile at a smaller district like Spokane?

“We actually had a couple of threats that were made that wound up being something that resulted in some larger discipline consequences,” Bell-Freeman said of an incident a few years ago where a Spokane student made threats to a student at another school. “They were safety issues that were reported through this system and we were very grateful for that.”

“Those that have a propensity for school violence, 80 percent of those have told somebody of their intentions,” McClure added. “This is the perfect tool to report that. Also when you have a kid at one school threatening violence or bullying a kid at another school, this creates that network between superintendents when this program is utilized.”

“Sometimes what the kids are sharing spreads throughout the kids before it ever makes it to us as the adults to look at,” Bell-Freeman said. “And by the time it’s been shared repeatedly the story has changed a great deal. Small town, big town, none of us are immune to threats of violence and with technology those things can get out of hand very quickly and be far reaching.”

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