New reporting tools allows students to report suspicious activity

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Keeping kids safe is the main priority for the State Board of Education.

At the Board’s meeting on Tuesday, the Safe and Secure Schools Unit for the Kansas Department of Education announced a program that gives Kansas students with a new tool to report unusual behavior in school.

This year students will have a new tool to report suspicious or violent behavior before it turns into something worse.

“Kids are our primary source of information, they know what’s going on in the schools, they know what’s going on in their neighborhoods, so if we can create some more ways, some more avenues for kids to give us that information, so we can take action before something happens, that’s just critical,” said Ann Mah, State Board of Education member.

Though tailored to students, anyone can use the program. They just scan a QR code that takes to them the Kansas Bureau of Investigation’s website.

There they anonymously describe what’s happening, like violence, drug activity, or threats to commit a crime.

“They’re not comfortable with going to an adult with the information that they have. But the information they have is critical and so we’re trying to give them an avenue to talk to us,” said Susan McMahan, director of Safe and Secure Schools Unit.

The program gives students a modern way of reporting problems.

“The kids are so connected to technology we have to use what they have, we have to reach them where they are, and they’re into technology, so I’m really thrilled to see this QR code out there to help kids support suspicious activity, it’ll be great,” said Mah.

The KBI decides whether the activity is criminal or not. Then, either the police, school officials, or a psychologist is notified.

The QR code program began in May and has since seen results.

“There have been incidences already forwarded with this program already. Last week we had a juvenile arrested on a threat to school and school hasn’t even started,” said McMahan.

Posters will be placed in schools as well as public places students often frequent to get as many people to use the tool as possible.

Creators hope to make an app for the program for easier access for kids in the future.

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