School districts across the country seeking help from Columbus business
COLUMBUS, Ohio —
Their motto is “see something, say something” but taken up a notch. Several schools in central Ohio including Westerville, Circleville, New Albany, Chillicothe, and many others use a program called “The Safe School Helpline.” Nearly 800 school districts use the same program across the country.
Superintendents from all over are calling the Columbus company called "Security Voice Incorporated," the ones who started the school helpline back in 1996. But now, it's more popular than ever, given the recent shooting in Florida.
"Our volume has doubled or tripled in the last week, so more and more people are concerned about safety,” said the Security Voice, Inc. President Bob McCurdy.
The purpose of this helpline is to promote school safety and report wrongdoing or illegal activity, according to their website. It's a tool parents and students can use to report bullying, drugs, or any other issues. The New Albany School district has been using it for the past 15 years.
"It's a great resource for parents if you need an anonymous contact and you don't want to share that information right out of the gate with the school district but you know your kids needs some support, you're just not comfortable talking about it yet,” said the New Albany-Plain Local Schools Superintendent Michael Sawyers. “That mental health support can come through ‘The Safe School Helpline’."
It's pretty easy to use too. People can call, text, or use their smart app to report any concerns they have but the service isn't free for schools.
"The cost is based on the student headcount, typically it's very inexpensive. It would run 2-cents a week per child,” said McCurdy.
Columbus Public Schools used "The Safe School Helpline" last year but now they use a free service tip line, offered by the Department of Education.