« Maine Middle School to Offer Birth Control | Main | Packer Legend McGee Dies »

School Creates Anonymous Help Line

According to the Star Tribune Westwood Middle School created an online program that enables students to anonymously interact with adult staff members.

The idea behind "Talk About It," an online program is to allow for students to have a nonthreatening or intimidating environment where they can get advice, prevent school violence, or simply have someone to talk to.

Just this month, two cases showcase how valuable the program could be to schools. Students reported that they heard the shooter in the Oct. 10 school shooting make threats. Also, this month in Norristown, Pa. a teenager was arrested when he was reported as possessing weapons by another student.

Westwood eighth-grader Bailie Johnson, 13, helped to train her classmates to use the system. "I think they like it better that it's anonymous," she said. "... They can talk to a counselor through the Internet instead of in person, which is better because they feel they're not being judged as much." ( Star Tribune)

Principal Paula Hoff said that she has received about two alerts a day from the program, with them ranging from lunchroom and bus behavior to bullying.

School counselor Rebecca Crislip said she's heard mostly from students who are having issues around friends and school stress. "I always had a lot of students coming in, but I know there is a population that isn't comfortable coming down to the counselors' office or speaking to an adult," she said. "The goal is to help the students deal with the issue so they can go back to focusing on their learning." ( Star Tribune)