See something, say something: How students can report suspicious behavior at their schools

- Are students comfortable reporting behavior they find suspicious, strange or threatening? 

We sought to answer that question and find out what school districts across our area are doing to encourage students to speak up.

FOX 46 reached out to half a dozen school districts today, and many of them say they encourage students to report anything that makes them uncomfortable; some even allow anonymous reporting.

Some students told FOX 46 their school doesn’t talk to them about reporting suspicious behavior, but others say they would report anything that made them uncomfortable.

“Is it encouraged that you guys report things? Do they ever talk to you guys about this stuff?” FOX 46’s Jenyne Donaldson asked a CMS high school student. 

“No, but I think we all know that if we need to we can,” the student said.

Some students say teachers only talked to them about being aware of--and reporting-- suspicious behavior after a serious situation happened at their middle school.

“A boy in my school brung a gun and after that happened then they started doing stuff like that,” said 7th grader Jayvaughn McClean.

But others say speaking up is not only encouraged it’s taught.

“At the beginning of the school year they told us if like we have something that is making us uncomfortable we should tell the teacher or someone that we really trust on and they would do Google slides to tell us and encourage us and not make us scared to tell teachers,” Deily Mendez, who is in 6th grade. 

CMS released a statement to FOX 46 saying:

CMS students are encouraged to report to the nearest adult anything that appears unusual, or if classmates see anyone with inappropriate items on campus.  Students should report this information to teachers, staff, principals any adult. This has been common practice at CMS and the district encourages all students to continue sharing important information with an adult as soon as possible.  This can certainly be done anonymously.

York County District 1 also made a statement saying:

In York School District 1, we encourage our students to report concerns that they may have, either in person to a member of the school staff or anonymously.  Our School Resources Officers, guidance counselors, teachers and staff are valuable resources to our students and value the relationships they have built over the years. We have found that many potential issues are addressed before getting out of control because our students care for their safety and report issues they find concerning. In turn, we investigate every report to ensure the safety and security of our students and staff.

Another school district we reached out to, Union County Schools, told FOX 46 that both students and parents can make reports using the school district app which can be done anonymously. Some schools even offer bully or say something boxes.

Kannapolis City Schools responded to FOX 46 saying that students are advised to report any suspicious activity to school staff. Bullying and harassment can also be reported using a confidential online reporting form for Kannapolis Middle School and A.L. Brown High School

They say students can also call Cabarrus County Crimestoppers at 704-93-CRIME or text 93CRIME. 

Our Jenyne Donaldson interviewed several CMS students, asking them: "Would you report suspicious behavior to an adult?"

Here are just some of their responses:  

  • "If I see weapons or whatever yeah I would tell somebody because I’m not in a safe situation I don’t want to get hurt and I don’t want anybody else to get hurt.”
  • “I would definitely tell a teacher because when you don’t feel comfortable you definitely have to tell somebody.”
  • “I will tell somebody that I really trust on and I would tell them what’s going on.”
  • “I would tell people because you don’t know what they’re thinking about and what they might do.”
  • “I would tell a teacher because you never know what people might do at the end of the day.”
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