System Encourages Students to Communicate
Report-it.com, an online, anonymous reporting system for students operates under the premise that students are the eyes and ears of a school community. In many cases, students have the best understanding about what is going on in their school, but can be reluctant to share information because they either fear retaliation or are uncertain of whom to tell. “We don’t want that excuse,” said Anthony Lavalle, founder of Report-it.com. “Report-it.com is really about encouraging students to communicate.”
Founded in May of 1999, Report-it.com’s mission is to supply a communication tool that students can use without fear of reprisal when they believe their safety or the safety of others is at risk. Through this web site students can report threats of violence, bullying or concerns, and connect to drug, alcohol and abuse resources, both locally and nationally, as well.
When a student logs in to the site a report is generated and a notification is sent to the specific school. No students’ names are attached to the reports. Participating schools have a password-protected area so that the designated individual who receives reports can check to see if any reports have been made. Schools are allowed up to four people who are cleared to view this confidential information.
According to Lavalle, Report-it.com is a proactive measure to prevent incidents of school violence. “If it’s not in the school there’s no way to tell if it can prevent anything,” said Lavalle.
Schools are Pleased with Service
“We have taken a proactive approach to school safety and so far that has kept us out of the news,” said Deann Allen, Instructional Supervisor for the Clay County School District in Kentucky. “We saw this (Report-it.com) as a proactive tool.”
The district invested in Report-it.com because it was an, anonymous system. “Sometimes kids will tell you something in private that they won’t tell you in front of a classroom,” said Allen. “Often students will report violence if they don’t have to attach their name to it.”
The number one fear the district has about adopting this system was the potential for false reports. However, Allen is happy to report that they have had no false reports, students and staff have been taking the system very seriously and the couple reports they have had have been regarding peer-to-peer harassment and not incidents of large-scale violence.
Allen thinks the system works well despite the fact that Clay County is a poor rural area and most of its students do not have computers in their homes. Students can access Repot-it.com through computers in the school library and computer labs. If schools have the resources to explore utilizing such a system, Allen advises they do so. She plans to include the system in the budget for next year. “My next step is to look into a hotline.”
Ross Calabro, Administrator for Staff and Students at Joel Barlow High School in the Easton Redding Region #9 in Connecticut is also pleased with Report-it.com and views the system as a preventative tool. To date, they have not had any reports through the system even after extensive advertising. “It’s really the first go around so I’m not surprised,” he said.
The school district has also experienced a decline in the number of fights that have occurred this year so Calabro believes that this too could be a factor in why they haven’t received any reports. However, “I think its such a reasonable program,” said Calabro. “It’s user friendly and provides an enormous amount of information both locally and nationally. We’re looking forward to seeing how it grows as a service network for us.”
Partnership Increases Reach
Recently, The Hamilton Fish Institute for the Prevention of School and Community Violence, an organization founded to test the effectiveness of school violence prevention methods, has decided to study Report-it.com. The study will evaluate the affects of student involvement in the prevention of school violence.
The goal of the Institute is to determine what works for the prevention of school violence and what works for the reduction of violence in America's schools and their immediate communities. Together, The Hamilton Fish Institute and report-it.com, are seeking schools to participate in the research project. They are offering schools a one-year pilot program to the Report-it.com service and the evaluation of this program will be based on a national level.
If your school is interested in being a pilot site please contact Anthony Lavalle at 631.218.1980.
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