OPHS report-it

New anonymous reporting site brought to OPHS

A new anonymous reporting site, OPHS Report-It, was introduced to Oak Park Feb. 26, to increase student safety.

This site was installed on the OPHS website as a result of recent school safety concerns and is completely anonymous, in order to protect the identities of those reporting.

According to OPHS Assistant Principal Jason Meskis, OPHS Report-It will be a helpful resource to the school for several reasons.

“Sometimes, kids are hesitant to come into the office and have to fill out a form, they are worried about people seeing them or they really want to protect their anonymity,” Meskis said. “Everyone seems to be online with their phones and computers and everyone has access, so this is a good way for them to be able to report something that they are uncomfortable with coming in and telling us.”

Although this resource has only been available for a short period of time, it is already being used by students.

“I think we have had one report so far, but one thing we would like is for it to be as effective as possible for people to make sure if they report things that it’s legit,” Meskis said.

The addition of this site was a result of recent gun violence incidents.

“The [Parkland,] Florida shooting [encouraged us to create this reporting site]. That made us look at all our practices and all our safety measures we have at the school and review everything,” Meskis said.

According to OPHS counselor and Safe School Ambassadors advisor Randy McLelland, new changes have been implemented due to school shootings.

“I think since so much attention has been drawn to this latest high school shooting, the school board wanted to have more systems in place that would allow people to report suspicious activities,” McLelland said.

OPHS has already worked to improve campus communications.

“In all honesty, at [Oak Park] high school, we felt that we already built a culture around [student safety]. We did the Sandy Hook ‘Say Something’ promotion. If you remember last semester we played those videos in classrooms and [also] already have large Advanced Peer Counseling, Beginning Peer Counseling and Safe School Ambassador programs that do a good job with this,” McLelland said.

Medea Creek Middle School has something similar, Medea Report-it. Students and faculty are satisfied with their anonymous reporting site.

“We meet once a month with all the counselors of the school district, and [Medea Creek students and counselors] seem to like [Medea Report-It],” McLelland said.

According to McLelland, OPHS students have reported before without the anonymous software.

“We know that with the [Oak Park Independent School] student who posted a picture of the gun, we had over a hundred people make referrals to us,” McLelland said. “Of course, this took on a life of its own, where people thought that it was a threat on the rally, which proved not to be true. But, we were frankly very pleased that so many people took the initiative to come and notify us.”

According to senior Salman Muntazir, OPHS Report-It will be beneficial.

“People will be more inclined to report things like bullying, [with] OPHS Report-It, as long as it is anonymous,” Muntazir wrote to the Talon.