SRO launches text line to report safety issuesBy Mike Berger
School Resource Officer and Canton Police Detective Chip Yeaton has launched a new text line for high school students aimed at giving teens an alternative method for reporting potential safety issues, such as bullying and assaults.
Realizing how often texting is a part of students’ everyday communication, Yeaton said, “We are trying to get into their world. We are reaching out to kids to do the right thing or help those who lack courage. Texting can be more private. We see it as another option for reporting something.”
“I see it as a very good tool for students and parents to privately report safety issues to school personnel and police by texting information,” he added.
The number for the tip line is 781-281-8212. It sends an automatic alert to Detective Yeaton and the Canton Police, but it should not be used as a substitute for 911 to report emergencies. The line is not anonymous. Police can trace the origin of the text, but all information will be kept confidential.
The line just started a month ago and has been used a couple of times. Yeaton understands it will take time before it is fully implemented, although he would eventually like to see it deployed in the middle school as well.
Yeaton sees the new text line working in conjunction with the school system’s revised policy on bullying prevention and intervention. “Around 85 percent of bullying incidents go unreported,” he said. “I think this line can help report this kind of thing when it happens.”
Yeaton heard about the success of this type of line from other school resource officers. He is the president of the Mass. School Resource Officers Association, which recently held a major conference in Norwood.
Although his office is at the high school, Yeaton does travel to all Canton Public Schools and is the prosecuting officer at Stoughton District Court for youth offenses.
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