Hundreds of tips made to state’s anonymous school safety hotline so far this year
COLUMBIA, Mo (KMIZ)
Hundreds of tips have been made to Missouri's anonymous school safety hotline, Courage2Report, so far this year.
The top three reports since 2019 have been bullying, assault, and threats to kill, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
There have been 435 tips so far in 2022.
- 93 - Bullying - repeated harassment
- 60 - Assault - Physical
- 38 - Threat to kill
In 2021, the hotline received a total of 594 tips. Of those, 119 were for bullying, 93 were for assault, and 27 were for school shooting threats. The hotline received 330 tips in 2020 and 430 tips in 2019.
The Missouri School Violence Hotline started in 2001. In 2019, the hotline changed its name to Courage2ReportMO. Reports also started going through the Missouri Information Analysis Center for 24/7 operation, according to MSHP.
According to the website, people can use the hotline to report a variety of different threats. This includes any threat to life that happens on school property or on the school bus. This could include the following:
- Assault- Physical
- Sexual Offense
- Human Trafficking
- Planned School Attacks
- School Shooting
- Planned Suicide
- Terrorism Threat-Extremism
The hotline has led to at least one arrest in the past year. Authorities arrested Michael Allen, the former basketball coach for Miller County R-III girls basketball team. Allen's arrest came after a tip was made through the hotline. Someone reported that Allen was having inappropriate contact with students and giving alcohol to students, according to court documents.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Commissioner Margie Vandeven said the hotline is a place for anyone to report anonymous concerns that they might have.
Vandeven said it's better to report and be wrong than to not report at all.
"You report it, people look into it, and it's nothing, and that's great. But, if it is that one call that you make that stops a violent situation or prevents a child from being injured in any way, gosh, that's worth that call, right?" Vandeven said.
Anybody who has information about any act of school violence is encouraged to report it. This includes parents, school staff, students, concerned citizens and confidential reporters.
When a report is made, the information is gathered and entered into a centralized database. The information is than sent to the local law enforcement and schools who then determine how to handle the situation.