A new program launched by Galion City Schools is aiming to improve communication between students, parents, as well as community and staff in the future.
Tiger Tip Line is a new tool implemented this school year which allows email, call, and text reporting of inappropriate, suspicious or questionable behavior. The slogan of “See Something, Say Something” is what the district is promoting to students and the community alongside the program.
“The district did a significant investment into the Centegix system last year, and it is a fantastic tool for response should something happen. But then the opposite side of that is the prevention component, and that is equally as important,” said Galion Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Hartmann.
“So how do we make it incredibly easy for anyone in the community, be it a child, parent, or community member, to report things to us?,” asked Hartmann.
For Galion City Schools, the answer was the Tiger Tip Line. The district is using Google Voice, which is a virtual phone number. The number listed on the district website can be called or texted, and the messages will then be transcribed into emails and forwarded to Dr Hartmann, building principals, as well as the district school resource officer (SRO) anytime anyone reaches out with a concern.
“All of the information is on the district website under ‘Safe School Reporting.’ We are in the process now of finalizing posters to go in the classrooms as well as our office spaces,” Hartmann said.
The tip line is not anonymous and with good reason.
“When we get information in, there are many instances where we might need to gather more information, that would require us to be able to reach out to the person who is reporting in a confidential manner,” said Hartmann. “If that would dissuade anyone from referring things to us, my pushback to that would be that our job is to keep kids safe and speaking up should not be something that you are afraid to do in any circumstance.
“It is the responsibility of communities everywhere to keep kids safe,” Hartmann continued. “The flip side of this is that we have to be sure also that a system like this does not get abused.”
District administrators will begin meeting weekly beginning in October in regards to the tip line and how to process any information that may come in and how to proceed with it.
Hartmann then went on to explain the second part of the process with Tiger Tip Line being establishing “TAMS teams” or threat assessment teams which will deal with any situations that may arise from the tip line. Hartmann himself has been involved in TAMS teams in previous roles. The teams usually consist of administrators, counselors, and SROs who then have to address the tip through a protocol provided by the state.
“I don’t want people to abuse the tip line, but at the same time I want to be sure we are adjudicating the threats that come in in a proper way. The TAMS process will allow us to assess each situation,” stated Hartmann.
Communication is the key factor for success as far as Hartmann is concerned.
“I think the district has done well in the past in communicating, but from what I hear in my Listen & Learn sessions with both parents and staff, is that there is always room for improvement with our partners in the community as well as internally. We will get there,” Hartmann said.
Contact Erin Miller at 419-512-2662