Potsdam Central rolls out ‘Say Something Anonymous' Reporting System
Tuesday, September 10, 2019 - 1:38 pm

BY MATT LINDSEY
North Country This Week

POTSDAM -- During the first weeks of school, Potsdam Police Officer Mike Neaton introduced middle and high school students to the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System (SS-ARS) app. Neaton is in a position at Potsdam Central that officials refer to as a "school resource officer," and spends most of his time at the district.

The app is free to schools through the Sandy Hook Promise organization and was chosen because the texts or phone calls go to a regional call center that is staffed with trained counselors that screen them. Information is then passed on to police or the school district, depending on the seriousness and urgency.

School officials hope to educate youth and adults on the signs and signals of at-risk behavior and create a safe, easy reporting platform, according to PCS Superintendent Joann Chambers.

“The result will be safer, healthier schools and communities via interventions made before individuals hurt themselves or others,” she said.

This program teaches students, teachers, and administrators how to recognize warning signs and signals, especially within social media, of individuals who may be a threat.

Specifically, the program educates participants to recognize the signs and signals of at-risk behaviors, especially within social media; take every sign and signal seriously, act quickly to get help by talking to a trusted adult; report it anonymously through app or website; respond to submitted tips via a multi-disciplinary educator and administrator team; sustain the curriculum and awareness via student clubs, in-school activities and call-to-action weeks.

“Our students often are aware of the problems their peers are facing, so we must empower them to know the danger signs and give them the tools to help each other with the assistance of trained and caring adults,” Chambers said. “As you know, most conversations are taking place on social media, therefore it is critical that we teach our students to be looking out for one another as these digital conversations are taking place.”

SS-ARS teaches students what to look for in text, video and photos while encouraging them to act quickly to help a fellow student.

Over 7,000 schools are using the app.

“They have a track record, reputation, and knowledge of how to work effectively with kids, parents, and teachers to improve school safety and culture,” Chambers said.

Anyone with questions or concerns can contact Chamber directly.