Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced the launch of the Oregon School Safety Hotline. The Hotline is available to school age children and other members of the public for the purpose of anonymously reporting illegal, suspicious or other questionable activity on school grounds or at school sponsored activities. Accessible 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, the Hotline can be contacted by toll-free telephone call or via the Internet.
TOLL-FREE HOTLINE: (866) 305-SSHL or (866) 305-7745
VIA THE INTERNET: www.oregonschoolsafety.com
The Hotline is an outgrowth of the Attorney General's School and Community Safety Coalition. Convened after the tragedy at Thurston High School, the Coalition met with students throughout the state to collect their views on making our schools safer. An overwhelming majority of the students supported a mechanism by which they can anonymously report non-emergency concerns.
"The Oregon School Safety Hotline empowers our students to play an active role in protecting their own safety and the safety of their peers without the fear of retribution," said Myers in announcing the launch of the new program.
The Hotline was enacted by the 2001 Legislature with the passage of a bill sponsored by State Senator Bill Morrisette (District 6 - Springfield, OR). The Hotline is funded through a U.S. Department of Education grant secured through legislation by Senator Ron Wyden. Implementation of the Hotline has been a coordinated effort between the offices of Myers and state Superintendent of Public Instruction, Susan Castillo.
"The Oregon School Safety Hotline will give kids a new place to have their concerns taken seriously when school violence threatens," said Wyden. "Hardy had a great idea to protect our children and I am pleased that I could help him make it a reality."
Morrisette, who at the time of the Thurston High School shooting was mayor of Springfield, said, "The tragic events of Thurston High School remind us that we can never do too much to ensure our schools and our students are safe. It is extremely gratifying that the Hotline is now available."
The goal of the Hotline is to offer a mechanism for early prevention of violence, abuse and illegal activity in Oregon schools. The Hotline is not intended to preempt the vital role of local law enforcement. Rather it will augment these efforts through the collection of information from concerned students, parents and school employees.
An advertising campaign and additional outreach to the state's schools and students will be initiated with the arrival of the 2004-05 school year.
The Hotline is operated by EthicsPoint, a Portland-based company specializing in the development and administration of world-class web-based and toll-free reporting systems for clients throughout the private and public sectors.
Kevin Neely, Justice, (503) 378-6002