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App Allows Students To Report Concerns Anonymously

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2016
4 pages
This article from TECHBeat profiles the features and benefits of North Carolina’s new tipline (SPK UP NC), which is being used as an app for students in 42 pilot schools in the state to enable students to have a means of transmitting anonymous safety concerns to school resource officers, school administrators, and teachers.
This is a project of the North Carolina Center for Safer Schools. The app stemmed from school and community forums held shortly after the Center opened in 2013. The Center took 18 months for the development of SPK UP NC, with students having a key role in the development process. The introduction of the app included an emphasis to students that the purpose of the app is not to get other students in trouble, but rather to provide a voice to students in positions to witness student problem behaviors that raise safety concerns for students and the school as a whole. This also includes anonymous expressions of concern about troubled students who may be at risk for suicide, such as students subjected to habitual bullying. The app not only provides a safe way to report concerns in English. It also translates Spanish and other languages into English that can be understood by school staff. A majority of the tips received in the early stages of app use pertained to bullying, drug use, and alcohol abuse; however, tips have also been received about inappropriate verbal behavior between faculty and students, which have been used in training scenarios. The North Carolina General Assembly has mandated that all schools must have some type of anonymous reporting established by the end of the 2016-2017 school year.

Date Published: May 1, 2016