Almost nobody uses Spokane Public Schools safety tip line, so district is "rebranding" it

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If you're a student in Spokane Public Schools, there's a good chance you had no idea that the district had a safety tip line you could call to report crimes or bullying anonymously.

That should change soon, says Mark Sterk, Spokane Public Schools director of safety, risk management and transportation.

"It's not new, but what I've found is that it's not being used," Sterk says. "I think the reason is that we haven't kept it out in front of the kids and the staff."

In fact, Sterk says no students called and used the tip line this school year at all. The only calls have been from police officers who use the safety tip line to report when they responded to a call, like a domestic violence incident at a home that may have left a kid traumatized. That information can then be shared with counselors and campus resource officers.

Sterk says the district is "rebranding" and "restarting" the help line (509-354-5934). It used to be checked only from 8 am to 5 pm, but now campus safety staff monitor the line 24/7. It was originally designed so students could leave anonymous tips, if someone felt they were being bullied, or if someone was going to be hurt.

Sterk says part of his goal is for more people to use the help line so campus safety staff can be more aware of such incidents.

"It's an avenue to get that information more quickly," Sterk says.

He says the district is going to create artwork, posters and brochures to make students more aware of the help line. Eventually,  Sterk says he would like to allow students to text the number, and he wants to set up an email system so they can anonymously report incidents.