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Snitching versus reporting: A qualitative analysis of barriers and facilitators to addressing safety concerns among high school students

NCJ Number
Date Published
27 pages

This study analyzes student differentiation between snitching and reporting.


Findings suggest students differentiate between reporting and snitching based on the perceived severity of the issue, its proximity, and how effective adults' responses are likely to be. Creating effective school-wide safety mechanisms depends on understanding students' previous experiences of reporting; however, students may also be apprehensive to report if it is considered “snitching.” Focus groups were conducted in the 2015–2016, 2016–2017 school years across four U.S. high schools (N = 40). A phenomenological approach was used to answer research questions on how high school students define snitching, what they perceive as the barriers and consequences of snitching, and under what circumstances they perceive reporting as acceptable or effective. As U.S. schools move forward implementing tiplines and reporting apps to address school safety issues, students will need support on what to report, how to report it and who/where to report it to and school staff should also focus on addressing the cultural norms around reporting. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2022