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Safer Ohio School Tip Line

Safer Ohio School Tip Line LogoThe Safer Ohio School Tip Line is a free safety resource available to all Ohio schools. The tip line is an anonymous reporting system that accepts both calls and texts 24 hours-a-day.

This tip line allows students and adults to anonymously share information with school officials and law enforcement about threats to student safety — whether that involves a threatened mass incident or harm to a single student.

Things to report to the tip line include (but are not limited to):

  • Bullying incidents;
  • Withdrawn student behaviors;
  • Verbal or written threats observed toward students, faculty or schools;
  • Hazing;
  • Weapon/suspicious devices on or near school grounds;
  • Gang related activities;
  • Unusual/suspicious behavior of students or staff;
  • Self-harm or suicidal sentiments; and
  • Any other school safety-related concerns.

Every tip can remain anonymous. School safety analysts may ask for additional information, but the caller can remain secret or leave his or her contact information for later follow-up.

Calls or texts to 844-SaferOH (844-723-3764) are answered by analysts within Ohio Homeland Security.  If action is needed, the analysts immediately forward information to local school officials, law enforcement agencies and the Ohio School Safety Center (OSSC) for action and follow up.

The OSSC partners with the Ohio Department of Education to follow up with affected school and law enforcement agencies to make sure that the incident is investigated, action is taken and resources and supports are provided when necessary.

Statutory Requirements

What you need to know:

  • HB 123  Safety and Violence Education Students (SAVE Students) Act:
    • Requires each school district and other public school to register with the Safer Ohio School Tip Line or enter into an agreement with another anonymous reporting program prior to the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. 
      • The reporting program must meet the following requirements:
        • Operate 24 hours per day, seven days per week;
        • Forward reported information to and coordinate with the appropriate school threat assessment teams and law enforcement and public safety agencies required under the school's emergency management plan developed under Ohio Revised Code Section 5502.262;
        • Be promoted in each district school to inform students about the reporting program and its reporting methods; and
        • Comply Ohio Revised Code Sections 149.433 and 3319.321 and the "Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974," 20 U.S.C. 1232g.
      •  
    • Data Submission Requirements:
      • Requires each anonymous reporting program provider annually to submit to the Departments of Education and Public Safety the number of reports made through the program and the method by which they were received. More information on how to submit this data will be released in Spring 2022.
      • Requires each district and school annually to submit specified data concerning anonymous reports to the Departments of Education and Public Safety. More information on how to submit this data will be released in Spring 2022. 
      • All data required to be submitted will be due no later than July 1 each year. This aligns with annual school safety plan certification requirements. 
    • Specifies that any data collected by the Safer Ohio School Tip Line or an anonymous reporting program or reported to the Departments of Education or Public Safety are security records and not public records.
    • Additional Information

How to Implement in Your School or District

Register & Request Promotional Materials 

  • To register for the Safer Ohio School Tip Line, complete and submit the Tip Line Registration Form.
  • If you have already registered for this service and you would like to order more Tip Line posters and brochures, fill out the Order Additional Tip Line Materials Form.
  • Once you register or request materials, you will receive a confirmation email during regular business hours from OhioSchoolSafetyCenter@dps.ohio.gov. Promotional materials are shipped monthly. If you need materials faster for an event, please email the OSSC to discuss your request.  

Develop Policies & Procedures

  • Create a Response Plan – consider using the below questions to develop your plan and include it in your school safety plan procedures. 
    • What process will you use to handle the tips once received?
    • Who do you want to be notified within your school by your principal/administrator? 
    • How will you handle a self-harm tip?
    • How will you address bullying?
    • How will you address students using the tip line to bully others?
    • Which partners will respond? Law Enforcement? School Counselors? 
    • Will you implement student action plans?
    • How often will you follow up?
    • How will your threat assessment team be involved?
    • How often will you check your emergency contact sheet to ensure it is updated? (**Often, the law enforcement agency listed is the not the one with jurisdiction, the principal has retired, or the SRO is no longer assigned to the school. This needs to stay updated any time there is a change to ensure expedited response.)
  • Information Storage
    • Where will you keep the information provided to you from tips?
    • Who will have access to it?
    • How will you handle requests for information from the media, community, and parents?
  • Intervention
    • How will you address issues during the school day?
    • Who will get a student out of class? How will you minimize classroom disruptions and ensure trauma informed interventions? 
    • What if something needs addressed after school hours? Who will be involved?

Education & Training for Staff, Students, & Guardians/Community

  • Ensure students & staff know:
    • What the tip line is used for
    • What the tip line is NOT used for
      • Bullying
      • Spreading misinformation 
    • How to access the service
    • What happens with a tip once received by the school
      • Who follows up 
      • Intervention
      • No retaliation 
    • How to access further help or aid
  • Suggested training venues to present tip line information to students: 
    • Student assemblies 
    • Home room, morning announcements using student voices or clubs
    • Posters (can order from OSSC)
    • Flyers & handouts 
    • Social media and email reminders (download the free logos and posters on the OSSC website)
    • School/community events 

Continued Marketing

  • When to share?
    • Anytime is a good time! 
    • Focus areas: beginning of school year/semesters/terms, winter break, summer break
  • How to share?
    • On your school based devices – link to the webpage 
    • In person (posters, person-to-person, at school events)
    • Social media, websites & email distribution lists 
    • Send brochures and letters to parents 
  • If students and staff don’t know what it is or how to use it, they won’t! 
  • Order Additional Tip Line Materials Form
  • Draft Safer Ohio School Tip Line Letter
    • Schools can personalize and share this draft letter with your students, staff, parents, and guardians to make them aware of these services. The letter can be put on your school’s letterhead and easily sent out in an email or printed to send home with students.

Tipline Marketing Images

  • Share these images on your website, virtual classroom pages, or social media. Tag your posts with #OhioSchoolSafetyCenter and #SpeakUpSaveLives

Speak Up Save Lives Images/Logos 

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Speak Up Save Lives Image

Speak Up Save Lives Image

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Speak Up Save Lives Image

Speak Up Save Lives Image

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Safer Ohio School Tip Line Logo

 

Ohio School Safety Center Tip Cards

Elementary School Tip Line Card

Elementary School

Middle School Tip Line Card

Middle School

High School Tip Line Card

High School

Ohio School Safety Center Tip Posters

Elementary School Tip Line Poster

Elementary School Poster

Middle School Tip Line Poster

Middle School Poster

High School Tip Line Poster

High School Poster

Universal Tip Line Poster

Universal Tip Line Poster

Universal Tip Line Poster

Universal Tip Line Poster

Benefits of the Safer Ohio School Tip Line

A review of school attacks occurring from 2008 through 2017 concluded that all attackers exhibited concerning behaviors (engaged in behavior that caused fear, issued direct threats of violence, or brought weapons to school), (Planty, M., Banks, D., Lindquist, C., Cartwright, J., & Witwer, A. (2020). Tip Lines for School Safety: A National Portrait of Tip Line Use. Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI International.)

Most attackers elicited concern from others, and most communicated their intent to attack. National Threat Assessment Center. (2019). Protecting America’s schools: A U.S. Secret Service analysis of targeted school violence. Washington, DC: Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Secret Service.

Using a tip line enables schools to enhance safety programs through:

  • Violence prevention;
  • Proactive intervention for safety concerns;
  • Situational awareness;
  • Trust building; and
  • Connecting students and parents to support.

Further Reading on the Utility of Tip Lines

What Parents Need to Know

  • Information submitted to the tip line can be done anonymously.
  • The tip line accepts both calls and texts 24 hours a day.
  • The tip line does not cost your school anything to utilize.
  • Calls or texts to 844-SaferOH (844-723-3764) are answered by analysts within Ohio Homeland Security.  If action is needed, the analysts immediately forward information to local school officials, law enforcement agencies and the Ohio School Safety Center (OSSC) for action and follow up.
  • Contact your school or district directly about policies they have for notification to parents about tips received.
  • Information submitted to tip lines is not a public record under Ohio law.

Crisis Text Line

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Do you need help now?

Text the keyword “4hope” to 741 741 to be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor within 5 minutes.

Any person may need help in coping with a stressful situation. Reach out by text to communicate with someone trained to listen and respond in a method that is private, secure and confidential.

The Crisis Text Line is a free, confidential service available 24/7 via text on mobile devices.

Throughout Ohio, you can text the keyword “4hope” to 741 741 to be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor. Data usage while texting Crisis Text Line is free and the number will not appear on a phone bill with the mobile service carrier. People of all ages can use Crisis Text Line.

For more information about the Crisis Text Line and for supporting resources, please visit the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services website.