Recently, the Colorado legislature passed House Bill 1254, the anti-bullying measure that takes a proactive approach to curb bullying in Colorado schools. Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO), in partnership with the Douglas County School District (DCSD) has taken its own proactive approach to bullying prevention for the past two years.
Youth Education and Safety in Schools (Y.E.S.S.)
Since 2009, the Youth Education and Safety in Schools (Y.E.S.S.) program has been actively educating middle school students in ways to protect themselves from a number of issues they have to face in this day and age. In DCSD seventh and eighth grade health classes, a uniformed Sheriff’s deputy teaches 12 different lessons, six lessons for each grade. Lessons include helping teens recognize and cope with adverse situations such as harassment and/or bullying that may originate in person or on the Internet through social networking sites and mobile devices like cell phones. The program reaches more than 4,900 middle school students in DCSD. The Y.E.S.S. program is currently operating in six middle schools and four charter schools in DCSD.
Text-A-Tip Celebrates Anniversary, March 30
Through a unique partnership with the DCSO and DCSD, the Text-A-Tip program will celebrate its second year of operation in DCSD on March 30. DCSD high school students are able to discreetly and confidentially share real-time information via text messages to law enforcement and school administrators. Students are encouraged to share information about safety and security concerns that involve their school and/or students at their school. All texts are anonymous and students are able to “chat” and share information they would not share otherwise. Students comment that they like the program because they know someone will help right away.
To date, the Text A Tip program has received more than 660 tips, with 244 of the tips originating this school year. The program is credited with intervening in five suicide attempts – saving the lives of those students. The bottom line is, because we have the Text-A-Tip program and students trust the program enough to let us know their friends are having thoughts of suicide, we were able to intervene and save these student’s lives. It is a valuable resource for students who want to do the right thing, but maybe not get deeply involved. Students have also reported bullying, fights, thefts, drug possession, and drug use via the Text A Tip. On occasion, parents have also used the program to share information with the DCSO relating to student and school issues.
School security dispatchers receive the text messages and then chat with the tipsters and relay the information to the appropriate staff with the school district and law enforcement. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The program is not a public program it is designed to stay with DCSD high schools. The program is fully funded by the DCSO drug seizure fund – no tax dollars are spent on the program.
Sheriff David A. Weaver said that this program wouldn’t be possible without the collaborative efforts between DCSO and the Douglas County School District. It is this partnership that says Yes to Youth, Yes to Education, and Yes to Safety in Schools.
For more information, contact Phyllis Harvey, Y.E.S.S. coordinator at 303-814-7033 or firstname.lastname@example.org.