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“Say Something” Tip System Coming to Asheville City and Buncombe County Schools

You’ve heard the phrase “If you see something, say something,” but now, thanks to a new anonymous tip app, it’s that much easier for Western North Carolina students to do just that.

     In fact, Asheville City Schools and Buncombe County Schools are joining districts across the state with its implementation of the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System (SS-ARS). 

     “School safety is a collaborative effort,” said Asheville City Schools’ Assistant Superintendent, Shane Cassida.  “It requires all stakeholders, from the custodian to our families, in order to truly keep our campuses safe. And,  a major component of keeping our schools safe comes with our students sharing what they’re seeing.” 

     The Say Something app allows students the ability to easily report what they see by selecting from a thorough list of “tips” in the app - tips like bullying, social media threats, self-harm, harassment or planned fight. 

     Because the tips from the app go straight to 911 call centers, dispatchers, as well as school and district administrators, receive the tips in real-time. 

     “The See Something, Say Something App will give us accurate, real-time information that we can act on in an efficient manner,” explained Cassida.  “We look forward to utilizing this tool in the coming months.”

     The reporting system was created by the national non-profit organization, Sandy Hook Promise, led by people who had loved ones killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012.

      Local high schoolers, along with staff, are currently being trained on how the app operates as well as how to recognize potential warning signs that someone’s in danger. 

      “Buncombe County Schools is eager to launch the new Say Something App,” said Dr. Tony Baldwin, Buncombe County Schools Superintendent.  “I want to thank our faculty and staff who've worked diligently to prepare and train to use this new safety tool. We believe this is an important piece of technology that will help keep our campuses safe.  Students will have a simple and easy way to communicate any concerns they may have.” 

     Here’s how the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System works:

  1. After observing or hearing something disturbing, especially on social media, it is reported anonymously through SS-ARS (24-hours, seven days a week) to a crisis center, mobile app, or website. Whoever is reporting must identify the associated school.
  2. The submitted tip is triaged by certified crisis center counselors who collect information about the tip. 
  3. The tip is delivered to the impacted school, as well as the 911 center or law enforcement if needed.
  4. The tip is assessed as life safety or non-life safety and intervention is done for at-risk individuals.  Local law enforcement is involved, when necessary.
  5. Once all actions have been done, the school closes out the tip.

     Both Asheville City Schools and Buncombe County Schools plan to launch later this month. 

     “We tell our students that school safety depends on the entire community working together,” said Dr. Baldwin.  “This app embodies the motto we emphasize with students: If you see something, say something.”