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Anonymous Tip Lines On School Threats Found Effective In Study

"If you see something, say something" is a concept embraced by the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System, started by the non-profit Sandy Hook Promise Foundation. Schools in 23 states have set up an anonymous tip line serving more than 5 million students in grades 6 through 12. The idea is to report unusual behaviors or potential acts of gun violence by other students. A new study, published in the journal Pediatrics Wednesday, evaluated the tip line as it was used by North Carolina to see how successful it was at catching firearm-related threats, NPR reports.


Researchers found there were more than 18,000 tips submitted to the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System (SS-ARS) from 2019 to 2023. "What we found is that 10% of tips contain reference to a firearm," says Elyse Thulin of the Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention at the University of Michigan, lead author on the study. "So youth are turning to SS-ARS to submit information about what can be very highly risky situations."

The research is urgent because gun violence has been the leading cause of death of children and teens in the U.S. since 2020, when it surpassed car accidents. While the gun-related tips seen in the study also included concerns about bullying, interpersonal conflicts and suicide, 38% were about potential school shootings and nearly a quarter were about seeing or knowing of a weapon. A separate analysis of the data by the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation shows that the tips and interventions that followed prevented six planned school shootings during the course of the four years.

   


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